Laboratory War College To Highlight Innovation

Management event features advanced techniques for lab consolidation and regional lab networks

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CEO SUMMARY: Quickly establishing itself as the premiere event for the management of clinical laboratories, this year’s Executive War College in New Orleans offers specialized advice and experience for laboratory administrators. Expect to hear the first public presentations about innovative discoveries which lower costs and boost laboratory performance.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS scheduled for this year’s EXECUTIVE WAR COLLEGE in New Orleans on May 20-21 will bring first news of several exciting innovations for pathologists and laboratory administrators.

As listed in the February 17 issue of THE DARK REPORT, eight case studies of innovative laboratory consolidations and regional lab networks will be presented. These case studies are complemented with an extensive range of specialized programs.

Candid Case Studies

“We do two things at the EXECUTIVE WAR COLLEGE,” stated Robert Michel, Editor In Chief of THE DARK REPORT and producer of the program. “First, we present case studies of innovators in lab consolidation and networking. These are candid discussions of the management strategies used. Successes and setbacks are openly shared, and usually this generates lively give-and-take between speaker and attendees.

“Second, our breakout sessions focus on specialized management topics necessary to support a laboratory consolidation or regional network,” continued Michel. “These are individuals or vendors actively and successfully involved with an operating network or consolidation.

“For example, last year we had Advanced Laboratory Group detail how they built a single-entry LIS system which connected the 40 hospital laboratories in Pittsburgh’s Reference Laboratory Alliance network,” observed Michel. “To my knowledge, that is still the only single-entry, multiple-hospital laboratory information system that linked together an operating regional laboratory network.

“This year Dr. Patrick James, Director of Pathology and Clinical Laboratories at Health MidWest in Kansas City, will discuss how they converted eight hospital laboratories to a single LIS before they proceeded with the laboratory consolidation,” explained Michel. “According to James, the LIS conversion not only accelerated the actual laboratory consolidation process, but it had the unexpected benefit of building communication among the separate pathology groups in the system.”

First news about the effectiveness of “random-test/random access” instruments will be delivered by Ron Wagener, Ph.D., Laboratory Director at Laboratory Corporation of America’s Louisville facility. Wagener’s team used Roche’s new Integra instrument to re-engineer his laboratory’s workflow. A total of 17 instruments were replaced by one Integra. Substantial cost savings resulted, as well as improved quality and turnaround times for test results.

On the pathology front, David Rabbitts will provide examples of how pathology compensation agreements are being renegotiated with hospitals in different parts of the country. Rabbitts is Administrator, Laboratory Systems at Weusthoff Health Systems of Rockledge, Florida.

Managed Care Contracts

Managed care contracting strategies and techniques get full attention at this year’s EXECUTIVE WAR COLLEGE. Four presentations will cover vital aspects of how to profitably bid and service managed care contracts.

Christian Haller, Senior Healthcare Analyst at Finger Lakes Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Rochester, New York will present the insurer’s prospective. For the laboratory perspective, Robert Collier, Vice President of Marketing and National Accounts at American Medical Laboratories in Chantilly, Virginia will reveal techniques his lab has used to keep contract capitation rates above $1.00 PMPM.

One hot topic these days is utilization review, test algorithms and clinical interaction between laboratories and clinicians. For eight years St. John’s Hospital laboratory in Tulsa, Oklahoma has maintained a successful program of applying laboratory data to clinical processes and outcomes. Terrance Dolan, M.D., Chief of Pathology at St. John’s, will describe the infrastructure needed to collect laboratory data, as well as the practical dynamics of getting clinicians to respond to laboratory information and outcomes data.

“There is one interesting development which demonstrates the practical management value that the EXECUTIVE WAR COLLEGE has for attendees,” noted Michel. “As of this early date we have 17 hospital laboratory systems which registered multiple attendees. They tell us that they are using this as a ‘strategic retreat.’ Instead of sending one person to attend and report back to their management team, they are sending several key decison makers.

“Their objective is learn from the presentations as a team, then debate the merits of the management lessons among them- selves over the course of the two days,” he explained. “This is consistent with the feedback we heard from groups who attended last year’s EXECUTIVE WAR COLLEGE, where the same phenomenon occurred”

Early registrations for this year’s EXECUTIVE WAR COLLEGE exceed those of last year. Those planning to attend should not delay, since New Orleans is a busy destination city and hotel rooms will be at a premium during War College Week.

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