SURPRISE! THERE’S A QUIET MANAGEMENT REVOLUTION UNDER WAY in both the clinical laboratory industry and pathology profession. During the past few years, a steady flow of new-thinking Presidents and CEOs have taken control of laboratories, pathology group practices, and vendor companies.
From CEO Ken Freeman of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated to CEO James New of AmeriPath, Inc., these are executives whose thinking and perspectives were shaped by a career outside the laboratory world.
But I believe the most significant influence upon laboratory medicine and pathology will come from an emerging class of companies—companies unfamiliar to virtually all of us because they didn’t exist two years ago. These are the companies building their future around information management. They believe the future lies in Internet-based technologies and a yet-to-be defined healthcare system dominated by e-commerce.
These are newly-minted companies, with high hopes, lots of enthusiasm, and, in some cases, oodles of venture capital money. Their names are beginning to appear on the pages of THE DARK REPORT. What makes these companies a threat to the established order in the laboratory and pathology world is that they don’t know “how things are supposed to be.” They see the world as it is today. They are intensely-focused on making money by bringing new services and products to market.
The established order is struggling with this. The professional associations are always a bellwether of change, and they face challenges. From the College of American Pathology (CAP) to the Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA) and American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC), there is concern over membership retention and the fact that national conventions seem to be losing the importance they once held for the entire industry. The concerns of the lab industry professional organizations are just the top of this particular iceberg. Most of the serious change still lies unseen, below the surface.
I believe we are witnessing a transfusion of new management blood into the laboratory industry and pathology profession. As these new executives build the influence of their companies, they will surely alter the laboratory marketplace. It may be that they will successfully infuse that silicon valley entrepreneurial spirit into both clinical laboratories and pathology group practices.