The most complete archive of clinical and pathology lab industry news available, including issues from 1997 to the present.
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Anatomic pathology is a medical specialty that is concerned with the diagnosis of disease based on the macroscopic, microscopic, biochemical, immunologic and molecular examination of organs and tissues. It is one of two branches of pathology, the other being clinical pathology.
Clinical chemistry (also known as chemical pathology, clinical biochemistry or medical biochemistry) is the area of clinical pathology that is generally concerned with analysis of bodily fluids. A clinical chemist uses chemistry to evaluate patient health.
A clinical laboratory is a laboratory where tests are done on clinical specimens in order to get information about the health of a patient as pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.
Clinical laboratories, where tests are done on clinical specimens in order to get information about the health of a patient as pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, are facing numerous challenging trends as healthcare reform continues to evolve. These challenges include the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA), UnitedHealthCare’s new laboratory benefit management program, and the increasing number of accountable care organizations.
Digital pathology is an image-based information environment that is enabled by computer technology to allow for the management of information generated from a digital slide. It is enabled in part by virtual microscopy, which is the practice of converting glass slides into digital slides that can be viewed, managed, and analyzed on a computer monitor.
Genetic testing is a type of medical laboratory test that identifies changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins. The results of a genetic test can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition or help determine a person’s chance of developing or passing on a genetic disorder. More than 2,000 genetic tests are currently in use, and more are being developed.
In vitro diagnostics (IVDs) are diagnostic tests that that can detect diseases, conditions, or infections. In vitro diagnostics test a sample of tissue or bodily fluids, as opposed to testing inside the body.
Laboratory automation is a multi-disciplinary strategy to research, develop, optimize and capitalize on technologies in the laboratory that enable new and improved processes. Laboratory automation professionals conduct research and develop new technologies to increase productivity, elevate experimental data quality, reduce lab process cycle times, or enable experimentation that otherwise would be impossible. The most widely known application of automation technology is laboratory robotics.
The laboratory billing process is the interaction between a clinical lab or pathology group and the insurance company (payer). The entirety of this laboratory billing interaction is known as the billing cycle, which can take anywhere from several days to several months to complete, and require several interactions before a resolution is reached. The entire process is the function of what is commonly known as the laboratory coding/billing/collections department.
Laboratory compliance is the ongoing effort of clinical labs to meet certain standards of practice set by various government agencies. Most prominent of these are the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), which establish Quality Assurance (QA) standards for all laboratory testing to ensure the accuracy, reliability and timeliness of patient test results regardless of where the test was performed. CLIA requires clinical laboratories to be certified by their state as well as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) before they can accept human samples for diagnostic testing.
Laboratory equipment for clinical labs and pathology groups includes a wide range of devices and instruments, some of which are familiar to the general public and some of which are highly specialized to clinical lab work. Laboratory equipment is generally used to either perform an experiment or to take measurements and gather data. Larger or more sophisticated equipment is generally called a scientific instrument.
A laboratory information system, or LIS, is a software program that provides all the basic functionality needed for a clinical laboratory, whether that laboratory is hospital-based or a standalone commercial laboratory facility. Various components of the LIS will handle patient check-in, order entry, results entry, physician and patient demographics, specimen processing, and have some level of reporting ability.
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,
Lean Six Sigma is a management technique consisting of both Lean and Six Sigma techniques. This produces a methodology that relies on a collaborative team effort to improve performance by systematically removing waste (Lean) as well as defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion and extra-processing (Six Sigma).
Managed care is a health care delivery system organized to manage cost, utilization, and quality. Every healthcare provider must settle on a managed care contract between itself and the payer. The contract between a clinical laboratory or other health care professional and a managed care organization (MCO) is the fundamental document which frames, defines and governs their relationship. Contractual provisions can affect payment, office organization, practices and procedures, and confidential records as well as clinical decision-making.
Molecular diagnostics is a technique used to analyze biological markers in an individual’s genetic code and how their cells express their genes as proteins, by applying molecular biology to medical testing. The technique is used to diagnose and monitor disease, detect risk, and decide which therapies will work best for individual patients.
Pathology groups face a number of challenging pathology trends in the era of radical healthcare reform. One of the primary trends is that like clinical laboratories, these businesses are carrying significant and potentially unsustainable levels of unreimbursed services. Although bad debt and uncompensated care in the healthcare industry are not new, they have been increasing at the same time that downward pressure is being applied to pathology reimbursement. Medical laboratories and pathology groups are also facing enormous levels of change in their clinical, regulatory and financial environments.
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