Many of you who read this will be in attendance at the second annual Executive War College on Medical Laboratory Networking in New Orleans. The case studies of laboratory consolidation and regional laboratory networks that you’ll hear provide compelling evidence that laboratories must change if they are to survive and thrive.
This issue of THE DARK REPORT describes and defines the types of innovative laboratory ventures which represent the cutting edge of change in our industry. It is devoted to the subject of regional laboratory systems. Our editor strongly believes that the dual trends of laboratory consolidation and regional laboratory networks are going to evolve into a single form: the hybrid regional laboratory system.
In fact, those of you at the Executive War College will hear a case study about the most advanced “hybrid regional laboratory system” we know about. It is Calgary Laboratory Services (CLS) of Alberta. When the province took almost 40% of laboratory funding out of the healthcare budget, every laboratory in Alberta was forced to explore any creative idea that promised survival. The CLS case study is another chapter in the story we brought to you in the January 6, 1997 issue of THE DARK REPORT.
In Alberta, draconian cuts to laboratory funding required laboratory managers to consolidate, integrate, rationalize and restructure every laboratory asset, regardless of who owned it. The goal was to survive, while still providing high quality laboratory testing. When Dr. Roman Szumski, CEO of CLS, presents his case study, you will gain an inside peek at how laboratories will be regionalized in the future.
Stories you will find here, here and here describe, for the first time in print, the four different types of laboratory players who aggressively court hospital laboratories to join their vision of a regional laboratory system. You will learn about the first operational models of their laboratory business concepts. I wish we could tell you whether they are succeeding or failing, but some of these “regional laboratory systems” have only been operating for a few months. Any judgment as to their success would be premature.
However, you should recognize that every time someone shows up at your laboratory and wants to enlist you into a joint venture, alliance, consolidation or network, that is our prediction of a regional laboratory system becoming reality. It is proof to you that market forces are causing laboratories to respond. It signals that the time draws closer when your
laboratory must change.