IT MAY SURPRISE MANY PEOPLE TO LEARN THAT THIS YEAR’S Executive War College in New Orleans attracted registrants from New Zealand and Germany. What may be even more surprising is the reason they traveled from overseas to come to this particular program. Our editor met with them and learned some intriguing and useful things that I would like to share with you.
First, the German contingent. Several German laboratorians came to the Executive War College because healthcare trends in their country are running parallel to the United States. They wanted to explore the management models and successful organizational strategies used by innovative laboratories in our country. Unlike the United States, Germany has a single payer health system (the government). But like the United States, Germany has a fee-for-service payment arrangement for non-hospital healthcare (to physicians, laboratories and other ancillary providers).
The Germans traveled across the Atlantic to New Orleans for two reasons. First, Germany is introducing forms of managed care into the health system there. So our foreign guests wanted to learn effective ways to respond to these new dynamics. Second, in Germany, outreach laboratories which service physician offices are privately owned. Our guests had become concerned that an American laboratory company might show up in Germany, purchase a lab or two, and become the nightmare competitor everyone dreads. So they decided to “check out the competition” and learn more about the intentions of America’s commercial lab companies.
Our guest from New Zealand was here for one reason: consolidation and regionalization have arrived down under. He is already involved in a countrywide laboratory and pathology consolidation. He wanted to hear the case studies and develop a personal network with laboratorians who’ve already gone through the process. New Zealanders knew about the Alberta laboratory consolidation, so our Kiwi friend was keenly interested in meeting someone from Calgary at the Executive War College and doing a site visit to Calgary on his return swing home.
Two lessons can be learned from our international friends. First, healthcare really is undergoing the same pressures worldwide. Second, the Executive War College continues to be a respected gathering place where movers and shakers in the laboratory industry can get the real story about what is happening to our industry. Because I am curious to learn more from our foreign guests, look for future stories on labs in Germany and New Zealand in THE DARK REPORT.