By Patrick Adamiak, VP Product Marketing, Liaison Technologies
The 18th annual Executive War College for lab managers was held last week in New Orleans. Attendance was at its highest ever and the speakers and sessions were again top notch in sharing best practices, industry trends, and emerging technologies. Two consistent themes emerged. The first was accountable care, and how labs must exhibit their value within an ACO. The second was how labs must compete for the fastest growing segment of the testing business, the outpatient practices.
A labs value to an ACO? Labs contribute 70% of the objective clinical data to a patient’s chart, at only 2-3% of the overall healthcare spend. That’s pretty good value. Yet, the CMS reimbursement rates and ACO allocation for lab testing is feeling downward pressure. So labs are pressured to prove their value in more ways. One suggestion was to use lab data more effectively in the management of chronic disease. For example, report on whether your diabetic patients are being tested at the right intervals and whether their conditions are improving (through HBA1C levels). Another suggestion was to actively engage patients in their care — sending lab reports in a way that patients will actually understand and act upon them. Wouldn’t outcomes improve if patients participated actively in their care plan?
Competing for the lab business of the outpatient practices… Keith Laughman, President/CEO of Med Fusion, a clinical lab in Texas claims that labs are largely focused on their own lab operations, and might be more competitive if they viewed the problem through the eyes of the outpatient physician. Keith showed a great picture of a primary care group trying to deal with clinical data from 4 different labs, 2 imaging systems, two specialists, and the hospital in trying to see the single comprehensive clinical picture of the patients they treat. Doctors in these settings would benefit from a system that brought all of those service providers together in a single environment; either in the practice’s EHR or through a universal reporting system.
So, I have two questions that I’d love your thoughts on.
- Do you feel that your patients are well informed of their lab results? Before you answer, take a look at the #2 gripe patients have about their doctors at this consumer reports survey.
- Does your outreach solution work well for orders/results to only your lab, or can it accommodate the other labs that the practice MUST also order from.