Commentary and Opinion by R. Lewis Dark

Innovations Might Reduce Need for Phlebotomists

ALREADY A SERIOUS PROBLEM PRIOR TO THE PANDEMIC, the shortage of trained phlebotomists continues to grow more serious with each passing month. Some clinical laboratories are offering wages of $25 per hour or more and say they cannot attract enough candidates to hire and train for this essential role.  However, there is a company developing …

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Clinical Laboratory News from North of the Border

In mid-October, Canada’s largest national conference for diag­nostics leaders took place in Toronto. It was their first gathering since the onset of the pandemic and much is happening with healthcare and medical laboratories in our northern neighbor. The Dark Report was there to identify innovative developments that might be useful to our clients and regular …

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Getting the Jump on Solving Major Lab Issues

Observant laboratory managers and pathologists will note a recurring theme among the business intelligence briefings in this issue of The Dark Report: Solutions to major challenges require proactive steps.  A case in point comes with our lead story about how to recruit and retain medical technologists (MTs), medical laboratory scientists (MLSs), and medical laboratory technicians …

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Consumer Trends, Quality Management, and Labs

TODAY’S HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IS MARKED by uncertainty and unprecedented pressures. Every clinical laboratory and pathology group faces the triple whammy of shrinking budgets, staff shortages, and a rate of inflation that drives up the cost of supplies and salaries.  There are effective ways that labs can attack that triple whammy.  In this issue of The …

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You Asked for It. We Organized It.

DESPITE THE EASING OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN RECENT MONTHS, a pre-pandemic normal does not yet exist—if it ever will. Currently, most clinical laboratories, particularly those serving hospitals and health systems, are under the most intense pressure seen in decades.  At this moment, the big three sources of major headaches for lab managers are the …

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Labs Face Powerful and Unwelcome Forces

OVER THE PAST 25 YEARS, THERE HAS BEEN WIDESPREAD RECOGNITION THAT HEALTHCARE IN THE UNITED STATES is on an unsustainable path. The obvious argument was that year-over-year increases in healthcare costs would eventually overcome the ability of employers (private health plans) and the government (Medicare and Medicaid) to pay the bill.  Yet, 25 years after …

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Important Court Rulings & Pending New Federal Law 

IMPORTANT THINGS ARE HAPPENING WITH COURT DECISIONS AND PROPOSED FEDERAL LEGISLATION that will affect a substantial number of the nation’s clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups. In this issue of The Dark Report, you’ll be alerted to those developments we think will have the biggest impact on laboratory compliance and legal risk.  The first of …

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1999’s ‘To Err Is Human’ Still an Opportunity for Labs

NOT ONLY DID THE 1999 PUBLICATION OF ‘TO ERR IS HUMAN” trigger a wave of national news coverage about patient harm in hospitals, it also launched this nation’s healthcare system on a multi-decade journey to boost the quality of care, reduce medical errors, and increase the transparency of both patient outcomes and prices.  “To Err …

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Halfway Through 2022, More Changes Come at Labs

APPROACHING THE MIDWAY MARK OF 2022, some clinical laboratory directors and pathologists might feel like they’ve already experienced enough changes to last the whole year.  For example, since the start of 2022, we’ve seen SARS-CoV-2 testing surges come and go, as well as changes to the No Surprises Act’s out-of-network billing procedures. At the same …

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Data Innovation Plays a Key Role on Future Fronts

BETTER COLLECTION AND USE OF CLINICAL DATA WAS A PROMINENT THEME discussed by attendees at last month’s annual Executive War College Conference on Laboratory and Pathology Management in New Orleans.  Laboratory directors and pathologists have long known that such data can be considered a holy grail in healthcare. However, reaping a financial windfall from this …

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