Laboratory management in today’s clinical lab industry is changing rapidly and facing entirely new challenges. One problem is the lack of upcoming younger lab managers, as the retirements of baby boomer pathologists, medical technologists and lab scientists are in the near future. These individuals make up the largest proportion of supervisors, managers, and lab administrators working in labs today.
As they retire, every clinical lab and pathology group needs to have the next generation of leaders ready to step up and assume responsibilities. But, across the lab industry, there are limited opportunities for every lab’s brightest up-and-comers to get the regular management development opportunities that are common among Fortune 500 companies. The Dark Intelligence Group has called for the establishment of a mentoring program to help overcome this problem.
At the same time, downward pressure on reimbursements and mounting competition have created an environment that requires much more effort for a medical lab to grow and thrive.
Legislation, including the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) of 2009 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010, have placed significant demands on medical laboratories and healthcare providers to improve internal efficiency even while offering more services for less money. This pressure to “do more with less” is further compounded by the need to deliver increasingly personalized client service to retain and win clients.
With the era of fee-for-service medicine coming to a close, every clinical laboratory and anatomic pathology organization needs a strategy for getting paid, as new reimbursement models that support patient-centric care will make up a larger portion of lab revenues.
The challenge for every clinical laboratory manager is to understand how to evolve from a business model that is accession-centric or volume-centric to one that is patient-centric.
Many clinical laboratories today are developing data repositories to logically link all transactional and other information about a patient. These repositories allow physicians to see all relevant information, identify trends, and provide better care as a result, enabling labs to provide greater value to their customers, patients and payers, thus creating more value and becoming more patient-centric.