“May 30, 2000 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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Expect an announcement this week that Pathology Consultants of America, Inc. (PCA), based in Nashville, Tennessee, has acquired PathSOURCE, Inc. of Port Chester, New York. Both are single specialty physician practice management (PPM) companies devoted exclusively to pathology. Each company has substantial venture capital funding. PathSOURCE, organized by dermatopathologists, did not generate the revenue growth hoped for by its founders. This is an example of continuing consolidation in the pathology profession. A full intelligence briefing on this acquisition will be in the next issue of THE DARK REPORT.


Pathology consolidation is ongoing, but is evolving in some unexpected directions. The number of regional pathology super-practices seem to be increasing, as pathologists recognize the importance of having critical mass in their local market.


THE DARK REPORT has long predicted that patients would use the Internet to create and maintain their own copy of their health records. Entrepreneurs are now offering software programs and instructions to patients that teach them how to gather their health records from doctors and read the charts. A retired neurosurgeon, Ira Denton, M.D. created a product, the Personal Health Record, that can be purchased and/or downloaded through CapMed.com. A similar product is The Savard Health Record, a book available through Time-Life Publishing.


A number of Internet sites allow patients to upload and store their medical records. However, control over privacy remains an issue of concern to many consumers. This inhibits the growth of such web sites. There is also growing recognition by patients that their health files may be incomplete, inaccurate, or outdated. This motivates patients to collect copies of their medical records and store them on their personal computer. Patients can then print a complete file when they visit doctors or other healthcare providers. Labs should recognize there is an opportunity to build “brand loyalty” by helping patients in their efforts to compile a complete and accurate healthcare record on themselves and their family.


Another large diagnostic vendor will change the way it exhibits at one of the two big summer trade association shows. Beckman Coulter Corporation is planning a different exhibit for the Clinical Laboratory Management Association’s (CLMA) annu- al convention in Anaheim, California next month. Instead of a large exhibit area packed with the latest in diagnostic instruments, the company plans a small exhibit that emphasizes the actual performance of its technology in working laboratories around North America. THE DARK REPORT believes this is another vendor statement about the redundancy of having two lab industry trade shows literally back-to-back each year.


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