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How Clinical Labs Impact New Care Delivery Models

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Feb 03, 2021 · By Lenny
The nation’s healthcare system continues to be buffeted by enormous change, including implementation of The Affordable Care Act, the rise of new healthcare delivery models such as the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), fewer regulated tests, and fewer qualified lab workers.  Also trending, is the rise of the “bedless” hospital and other community-based health care facilities, which also impact laboratory processes and operating procedures. 

 These evolving patient care models are in direct response to healthcare reform, in which providers are being rewarded for not only keeping patients healthy, but also for reining in costs and improving overall quality.  In hospital and other settings, emphasizing outpatient work over an inpatient approach is the inevitable result of this new reality.

Lab medicine will play a central role in these bedless and other community-based models, as 70 percent of diagnostic decisions result from work done in laboratories. But, at the same time, “laboratories can add logical structure, support efficient workflow, and promote patient care and safety through the process,” according to a January 7, 2013 article in Advance for Administrators of the Laboratory entitled “Laboratory, Outreach & the ACO Model.”

Labs also add value “by offering advanced core technologies within the lab, integrating lab information across the continuum of care, and anticipating patient needs and access to care,” the Advance article points out.  “The Laboratory Information System (LIS) is often the accumulator of this information, while also providing valuable information about test utilization and other metrics to illuminate opportunities for cost savings.”

Other strategies which labs can utilize to demonstrate their value in new patient care models include the following, according to ARUP Laboratories, a major national reference laboratory:
 
  • Develop outreach by extending lab services outside the four walls of the lab.
  • Build electronic connectivity solutions to providers in a way that integrates data in and out of physician practice EMRs.
  • Promote lean internal laboratory processes.
  • Develop utilization management tools.
  • Understand the laboratory’s role in the big picture.
 
Healthcare, and labs in particular, are facing swift and broad changes that impact the delivery of care. The medical laboratories and pathology groups that succeed in the coming cycle of proactive healthcare will be those that develop innovative ways to add value to the swiftly evolving models of integrated clinical care. 

To discuss these ideas, and explore how your lab can improve efficiency, click here to talk with a LabReady representative: https://www.labready.com/#modalLabs

Credits: COLA, Dark Daily, ARUP Laboratories

Lenny

Leonard (Lenny) founded Vax-Immune in 2015 with a vision to innovate how we diagnose infectious diseases. As a neonatologist for 40 years, Lenny watched babies die due to misdiagnosis and after realizing that the problem lay in the way samples were being transported, “retired" to develop the first specimen transport system with specimen multiplier technology, eliminating the need for traditional transport and preventing misdiagnosis. The son of Holocaust survivors, Lenny was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany, came to America and went on to graduate from West Point. After completing Airborne, Ranger and Air Defense Artillery schools, he served 24 years in the Army as an academic neonatologist, where he discovered and developed the breakthrough drug for Medimmune, which sold to Astra Zeneca for $15B. After retiring from the Army, Lenny joined the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine where he served as the Chief, Newborn Service, Texas Children’s Hospital, where his vision to build a women’s hospital became the Women’s Pavilion. While at TCH, he spearheaded the birth and care of the world’s first surviving set of octuplets and was featured in The New York Times, CNN, Today Show and in the international media.

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