Commentary and Opinion by R. Lewis Dark

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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Despite the Challenges, Labs Are Prevailing

EVENTS IN THE WORLD, THE UNITED STATE, AND THE U.S. HEALTHCARE SYSTEM over the past two years have challenged clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups in unprecedented ways.  Stand back for a moment and consider what has unfolded since Jan. 1, 2020. Cases of SARS-CoV-2 exploded across the globe. At the same time, nations locked …

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Decline in COVID-19 Test Orders Signals a Shift

MIGHT THE FEDERAL HEALTHCARE ESTABLISHMENT BE CLOSE TO DECLARING AN END TO THE SARS-COV2 PANDEMIC and—given the ongoing decline in the daily number of new cases and deaths—that COVID-19 is expected to become an endemic disease?  The SARS-CoV-2 statistics posted daily by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that, as of …

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COVID-19: a Fork in the Road for Future Lab Testing?

We have all experienced a pandemic unique in the history of the world. Two elements, in particular, distinguished this pandemic from earlier global outbreaks. First, genetic technologies allowed scientists to almost instantly sequence the DNA of the novel coronavirus, once it was recognized as a unique infectious agent. That accelerated development of the vaccines.  Second …

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Artificial Intelligence ‘Invades’ Pathology, Billing

Predictions about the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to transform nearly every area of healthcare are about to become reality. For the profession of laboratory medicine, AI is making speedy inroads into two areas. The first is anatomic pathology and the second is lab coding/billing/ collections—the revenue cycle management (RCM) functions essential to the financial health …

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Witness the Land Grab to Control Healthcare Data

LIKE MOST OF YOU, IT CERTAINLY CAUGHT MY ATTENTION WHEN I LEARNED in December that Oracle will pay $28 billion—with a B!—to buy Cerner Corporation.  I don’t question the value of Cerner’s products; the company has an EHR product that holds significant market share. It also has an impressive list of hospital and health system …

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2021 Closes with Two Major Lab Industry Events

Normally, the time around Christmas and New Year passes quietly, typically without any significant developments. Such was not the case for the clinical laboratory industry in the last month of 2021 because of two announcements, each of which confirms ongoing market trends in healthcare and the lab testing industry.  The first announcement was on Dec. …

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