Medical Labs Find Financial Efficiencies by Identifying and Fixing the Recurring Cost of Bad Quality

Like everyone in healthcare, clinical laboratories and pathology groups feel the financial squeeze. Shrinking budgets and decreasing prices for lab tests have made financial efficiencies a primary goal for nearly every medical lab in the United States, as noted in a recent article in Dark Daily. According to the article, labs shouldn’t only focus on low-hanging fruit like reducing staff overtime. They should also turn their attention to one of the biggest cost control opportunities: reducing errors.

The article notes that the “recurring cost of bad quality” is a fairly new concept in clinical laboratory operations. There have been attempts to address it, but unfortunately, much of the recurring cost of bad quality is nearly invisible. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that poor quality is all too often accepted as a normal consequence of lab tests.

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ISO and Taking Better Care of Patients

ISO is the International Organization for Standardization, an independent organization with a membership of 163 national standards bodies that brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant international standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges. ISO-certification is something we pursued as an organization because of the value it brings to us and our clients. It means we meet quality and reliability standards that reduce costs by minimizing waste and errors AND increase productivity.

Recently, Sentara Healthcare—a 12-hospital system, based in Virginia and North Carolina—adopted quality-management principles across its system that are based on a specific standard ISO 9001—continual improvement. Hospitals & Health Networks notes that the system is one of the first to take a system-focused approach using the non-healthcare-originated ISO 9001 standards.

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Most Wired Hospitals

Hospitals & Health Networks, the magazine of the American Hospital Association recently released its list of the “Most Wired Hospitals, 2014.” On this notable list were a number of MedSpeed partners including UPMC, Advocate, Avera, Inova, Rush and Orlando Health. Congratulations to those and the other institutions recognized.

According to the cover story announcing the 16th annual Hospitals & Health Networks’ Most Wired list, hospitals that top the list employ a strategy around second-curve metrics to align health systems, physicians, clinical and nonclinical people across the continuum of care. Wired hospitals have effectively deployed a variety of foundational technologies and now have their eyes on data analytics and population health management.

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Integration is critically important, yet many healthcare organizations aren’t prepared

We are well aware that the healthcare industry is in a time of tremendous consolidation with a greater than 50% increase in consolidation just since 2009. Since that activity is expected to continue through 2014, we wanted to get a sense for how successfully hospitals and health systems have been at integrating new facilities. To do that, MedSpeed conducted a survey in conjunction with HealthLeaders Media’s Leadership Council.

The survey polled 138 senior leaders across the healthcare spectrum, including hospitals, health systems, physician practices and payer organizations. Of those surveyed, 73% said that physically integrating materials and supplies is either “critically important” or “important” to their organization’s success in providing quality care.

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