News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel

News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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United Kingdom Doctors Call for an End to 10-Minute Office Visits and a Cap on Number of Patients They See

Aging population and funding challenges could cause doctors in United States to shorten appointment slots for patients here as well

Across the globe, health systems share a common challenge: how to meet the steady increase in the number of patients demanding access to clinical care with a workforce of physicians, nurses, and clinicians that may be shrinking due to retirements and other factors. Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers will want to stay alert to these developments, because this same trend is at work within the United States.

The United Kingdom (UK) offers a good example of this problem. Claiming doctors are being “run into the ground,” general practitioners in the UK are calling for an end to the country’s standard 10-minute office visit and a decrease in the number of patients they see per week.

The British Medical Association (BMA) blames general practitioner (GP) burnout on:

• Rising demand from an aging population with multiple health needs;

• Physician and staff shortage; and

• Inadequate federal government funding for healthcare.

Those factors also are at play within the United States (US) healthcare system. The possibility exists that health system administrators might want to create a standard of 10-minute appointment intervals as a norm for primary care physicians in this country. (more…)

National Health Service Reports that Most UK Hospitals Operating in Deficit Situations

The National Health Service of England (NHS) ended 2014 with a budget overrun of £800 million, placing financial stress on the entire UK health system

According to a recently released report, nearly all hospitals in the United Kingdom are currently in financial stress. The report indicates that only seven of the 138 hospital trusts are profitable, with the remaining ones operating in a deficit situation.

Here in the United States, the UK’s National Health Service is often touted as an example of a successful single-payer health system. Thus, the extraordinary financial problems within the NHS offer pathologists and clinical laboratory managers in this country some insight into the serious challenges confronting the NHS, including increased demand for services, which puts additional stress on existing hospital budgets. (more…)

In the United Kingdom, Medical Laboratory Professionals Gather to Explore Disruptive Diagnostic Technology, ISO 15189, and How Labs Can Add Value

Two-day conference attracted an international audience of clinical laboratory scientists and addressed major trends in healthcare and laboratory medicine

DATELINE: BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND—This week in the industrial heartland of the United Kingdom, pathologists and medical laboratory professionals gathered for the 13th Annual Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine (FiLM) conference. The hot topics were new quality management standards for labs in the UK, innovative ways to improve utilization of clinical laboratory tests, and how first mover laboratories in the United Kingdom are using such disruptive technologies as digital pathology and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry.

FiLM is co-produced annual by the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and The Dark Report. Over the past decade, it has grown into the largest conference in Europe that addresses the management and operation of medical laboratories and histopathology laboratories.

New Medical Laboratory Standards include ISO 15189

Currently, medical laboratories in the United Kingdom are adapting to changes in accreditation and external quality assurance (EQA—known as proficiency testing in the United States). By 2018, all labs in the UK will need to be accredited to the standards of ISO 15189: Medical Laboratories. As this happens, the United Kingdom will join a growing list of nations that now use ISO 15189 as a basis for licensure and accreditation of histopathology and medical laboratories. (more…)

Medical Laboratory Leaders Gather in the United Kingdom to Address Challenges of Shrinking Lab Budgets and Need to Upgrade Quality Assurance Performance

Nation’s healthcare system is in the midst of major clinical, organizational, and financial reforms—many of which require immediate responses by pathology laboratories

BIRMINGHAM, England—Two major challenges in laboratory medicine were front and center this week when medical laboratory, a professionals and histopathologists gathered here in the United Kingdom (UK) for the eleventh annual Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine (FiLM).

One challenge is how to improve the quality of lab testing services and demonstrate value to payers. The other challenge is how medical laboratories in the UK  can cope with shrinking budgets for medical laboratories. (more…)

Britain Rescinds Plans for Added Privatization Intended to Help Cut Costs at the National Health Service

Some privatization of pathology and clinical laboratory testing is under discussion

If there is one thing that the healthcare systems of the United States and the United Kingdom share in common, it is the respective budget crises engulfing the national governments of both countries. Each nation is struggling to come up with the funds necessary to pay for the ever-rising cost of healthcare.

In both nations, pathologists and clinical laboratory managers are dealing with the consequences of various initiatives to reform or re-organize the delivery of medical laboratory tests. In the United States, clinical laboratories will see a multi-year reduction in Medicare Part B funding as mandated in the Accountable Care Act of 2010 (ACA). In the United Kingdom, hospital laboratories are being asked to regionalize and consolidate. In some regions, privatization of pathology testing services is under consideration.