New Orleans hosted the 23rd Annual Executive War College (EWC) May 1–2. As usual, EWC was a venue for relevant discussions about the current healthcare industry trends that impact the laboratory. The 2018 EWC was aptly described as a “coming together of lab leadership” by Orchard’s EVP of Corporate/Business Development, Matt Modleski.
Shift to Proactive CareRobert Michel, Editor-in-Chief of The Dark Report, discussed new care paradigms, including a shift away from reactive medicine to a proactive care approach that intends to keep patients out of the hospital and helps them become active in caring for their own health situations. This proactive care includes interventions, such as incentives for healthier behaviors, and use of molecular and genetic tests for personalized, precision medicine. The healthcare shift that Michel described removes silos of care and results in a more integrated delivery of clinical services in which the laboratory plays an essential role. Laboratory professionals also need to think of patient care as preventive and proactive in regards to lab testing because as we transition to value-based payments, preventive measures rise in significance.
Specific Tactics for LaboratoriesImproving outcomes and reducing waste aligns directly with the session by Jessie Conta, MS, CGC, and Dr. Michael Astion on laboratory stewardship and data analytics governance. The session pointed out the value of having a laboratory stewardship program that takes control of lab testing and lab analytics from ordering through reporting, and how these programs (such as the one at Seattle Children’s Hospital) can improve lab usage and patient care.
Standardization to Improve TAT & QualityThe discussion in a session by Carlton Burgess, MSM, Vice President of Laboratory Services at Ascension Health’s St. John Providence Clinical Pathology Lab in Michigan, centered on standardization of lab testing within a network to prepare for the future through reduced spending, faster turnaround time (TAT), and superior quality lab results. This session provided a great example of a laboratory system aligning its mission and values alongside the organization’s mission and initiatives to improve care and decrease unnecessary spending.
What Does a Value-based Lab Look Like?Aligning lab goals with organizational goals has become a necessity for laboratories moving into value-based care. Michel explained that “labs must demonstrate that their lab test services contribute to improved patient outcomes and lower cost of care.” It was widely noted that faster TAT leading to faster treatment is a significant factor in reducing costs and improving outcomes. Laboratories must also learn to leverage their data and revisit the role of lab test data in healthcare data analytics and precision medicine services.
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Kim Futrell, MT(ASCP), MSHI
May 24, 2018