CEO SUMMARY: To simplify diagnostic reporting, the pathology and radiology departments at the David Geffen School of Medicine/UCLA Medical Center are working together to deliver integrated diagnostic information to treating oncologists. This innovative strategy is designed to improve patient care and quality while saving time and cutting costs. For five months, diagnosticians have worked together on more than 50 lung cancer cases while gathering the evidence to show this interdisciplinary approach can improve decision making and reduce downstream treatment costs.
Issue: Volume XXII No. 2 - January 26, 2015
PROBABLY NO SINGLE LAB INDUSTRY STORY OF THE PAST 24 MONTHS has generated a higher level of curiosity among pathologists and lab administrators than that of Theranos, the Palo Alto, California-based company that regularly claims it has the technology, the business model, and the low price strategy needed to disrupt the clinical lab testing marketplace.
CEO SUMMARY: In the search for ways to add more value to lab testing services, pathologists and lab administrators are considering organizing diagnostic management teams within their hospitals. Such teams focus on complex cases and include both diagnosticians and pathologists. In his pioneering work to develop the diagnostic management team concept, pathologist Michael Laposata, M.D., Ph.D., spoke recently about how such teams improve patient outcomes while reducing the cost of care.
CEO SUMMARY: Yet another specialty society is opposing the laboratory benefit management program UnitedHealthcare introduced in Florida last fall. Rheumatologists have joined four other specialty physicians in saying UHC’s BeaconLBS system could be detrimental to patient care. In a letter to UHC, the Coalition of State Rheumatology Organizations said it, “will pursue the reversal of this policy with our state and national societies through every regulatory, legislative, and public means possible.”
CEO SUMMARY: EHR system vendors must now comply with the federal government’s Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements. Well-established EHR vendors will survive. But smaller EHR companies may struggle to provide the enhancements to their first generation EHR products that are required to certify as MU Stage 2 compliant. These developments mean many physicians may need to find new EHR vendors. In turn, that will require clinical labs to build new interfaces to these physicians’ EHRs.
Interesting things are happening in the commercial clinical lab testing market internationally. In New Zealand, district health boards continue a decadeslong trend of squeezing commercial lab companies with the goal of reducing laboratory testing costs and eliminating redundancies. Currently the district health boards (DHBs) of Capital Coast, Hutt Valley, and Wairarapa—representing the the lower part of New Zealand’s north island—are evaluating proposals to consolidate all community and hospital laboratory services into one service entity.