"Editor’s Perspective"

Laboratories Worth Watching With Stories as Yet Untold

BURIED IN MY FILES are any number of magnificent examples of innovative laboratory and pathology management that have yet to reach print in THE DARK REPORT.

The limitation is space, influenced by the need to report on important breaking news. THE DARK REPORT is, by design, a compact and fast-to-read source of useful intelligence on the lab industry. That limits the space available to report on stories of lab management successes.

However, I’d like to use the excuse of a year-end retrospective to share with you some of the stories I consider worthwhile, but have not yet been able to report in detail.

Cleveland Path Group

High on my list of untold stories is OncoDiagnostic Laboratory, Inc, based in Cleveland. In 1993, its joint venture with DIANON Systems, Inc. ended, reducing OncoDiagnostic’s business volume by as much as 80%. To replace these lost cases, the five pathologists developed a national sales and marketing program of their own.

Rather than hire its own sales representatives, it used a contract sales force provided by B. J. Ness and Associates to call on specialty physicians throughout the United States. Since 1995, the volume of cases has climbed upwards.

Pathologist Cirilo F. Galang, M.D. is the Medical Director. Back in 1995, he was willing to pioneer using colored pictures and colored text on reports. He also supported introducing patient counseling reports, two-day TAT on Bx’s, and three-day TAT on liquid prep Paps. This willingness to innovate underpins the pathology group’s sustained growth over the past six years.

In Richmond, Virginia, under the guidance of David S. Wilkinson, M.D., Chair, Department of Pathology, the lab division of Medical College of Virginia has built a thriving molecular and genetic testing business. It is developing its lab outreach sales capability. It’s an example of an academic center laboratory that’s moving steadily into revenue-generating lab testing services.

At Health Midwest in Kansas City, Missouri, following the consolidation of its nine hospital labs, L. Patrick James, M.D., Director of Pathology & Clinical Labs, focused the lab’s mission on improving clinical care. One major accomplishment was to reduce pharmacy costs by more than $1 million per year through better use of microbiology test data at the time when antibiotics are ordered.

Leadership Is The Difference

The successes of these three lab organizations demonstrate that management leadership by pathologists and lab administrators is the spark that stimulates lab organizations to a higher level of performance. Their stories deserve to be told in more detail.

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