THIS ISSUE OF THE DARK REPORT IS A GREAT EXAMPLE of how marketplace developments shape what we write. After the Executive War College in New Orleans, I spoke with our Editor, Robert Michel. We discussed his impressions from the collective information of 26 presentations. We also discussed what he had learned from conversations with the attendees, many of whom are just as innovative as the War College faculty.
Robert said he was surprised at the extent to which partnering was an important element of each case study. That has not been true of War College case studies in earlier years. But this was an important insight, because it is the necessary precursor to the creation of the regional laboratory systems which he and I firmly believe are the future for clinical laboratories. Accordingly, Robert prepared the story on partnering trends between hospital labs and commercial labs that you see on pages 9-13 of this issue. It represents his strategic perspective on the current direction of our industry.
No sooner was a draft of his story in my hands than I was faxed a copy of the Premiere/Quest Diagnostics Incorporated press release from May 18. The gist of this development was that Premiere and Quest Diagnostics have developed a long-term partnering template, to be offered to Premier’s 1,700 member hospitals. It is designed to provide hospitals with an unorthodox way to extract “added-value” from their laboratories. The importance of this story was enough to bounce primary screening approval for NeoPath’s AutoPap System off page one.
Both Robert and I recognized that this was not just validating the partnering trend he writes about here, but it could be a paradigm-shifting event within the hospital laboratory world. For that reason, it is our lead story for this issue.
Was it serendipity which saw the conjunction of partnering in War College case studies with Premier’s partnering announcement? I think not. It is a perfect reminder to us that the clinical laboratory marketplace is moving at the speed of light. Change is cascading through our industry.
Every laboratory administrator and pathologist must recognize that survival for their laboratory is now dependent on their ability to view new business models with an open mind. Stability of employment and profits will only result from introducing continuous change to keep laboratories aligned with the market’s ongoing evolution.