Data Innovation Plays a Key Role on Future Fronts

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BETTER COLLECTION AND USE OF CLINICAL DATA WAS A PROMINENT THEME discussed by attendees at last month’s annual Executive War College Conference on Laboratory and Pathology Management in New Orleans. 

Laboratory directors and pathologists have long known that such data can be considered a holy grail in healthcare. However, reaping a financial windfall from this information proved elusive—until recently—as there is now clear demand for aggregated data and a means to analyze it. 

As you will learn in this issue of The Dark Report, the more data clinical labs can analyze about patients—including diagnoses and past/current test results—the greater the ability physicians have to identify care gaps and improve patient outcomes. Technology helps in this endeavor, but such data innovation also requires clinical labs to change how they operate and support their parent organizations. 

An interesting example of this changing landscape is Intermountain Health’s new merger with SCL Health. As we explain elsewhere in this issue, the consolidated system now has 33 hospitals and 385 health clinics. One of Intermountain and SCL’s goals with the merger is to bring a successful population health model to more patients. Population health seeks to treat conditions and improve outcomes in groups of people and lab data is essential to attain these goals. “The merger provides a healthcare model for the rest of the country,” said Intermountain CEO Marc Harrison, MD, in a statement. That’s a lofty goal, but it highlights for lab directors where the nation’s 11th largest health system—one that operates in the black, at that—is heading. 

A key to population health is clinical data—the topic that was so often on the lips of speakers and participants at Executive War College. Population health technology brings a combination of features that can collect clinical data from various sources, including clinical lab records, and analyze the data set. 

Illustrating this bridge between data innovation and news of the merger between Intermountain and SCL demonstrates why The Dark Report and Executive War College are valuable to laboratory leaders, clinical lab directors, and pathologists who think strategically. Such timely information keeps laboratories and pathology practices on the cutting edge of clinical excellence in a financially sustainable manner. 

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