INCREASING REVENUE

Conference Ends With Optimistic Outlook for Laboratories

Despite the PAMA cloud overhanging the laboratory industry, G2’s 35th annual Lab Institute conference (Washington D.C.; Oct. 25-27) ended on an optimistic note with David Nichols and Drea Langston, both from lab consulting firm Nichols Management Group, predicting growth and opportunity for laboratories.

Nichols and Langston say that innovative technology (including digital pathology and molecular diagnostics), an aging population, and informed consumers continue to be drivers of revenue growth. However, they say that laboratories willing to participate in innovative outreach partnerships will be able to benefit from the continued alignment of physician practices. Innovative outreach strategies will enable hospitals and health systems to “repatriate” physician test orders.

While most laboratories are running lean, Langston says that with “engaged and focused” laboratory management, laboratories can realize margins greater than the average 4 to 6 percent. This will require a focus on both operational efficiencies and added value laboratories can provide. Operational efficiencies can be realized through increasing automation, leveraging existing laboratory assets, and reviewing contracts and service agreements. Value can be demonstrated through increased informational technology solutions. Langston warns that connectivity is not optional and is an imperative to succeed in the outreach business.

In examining the available partnership opportunities that outreach laboratories can take advantage of, Nichols suggests that laboratories consider the financial value of the laboratory as an asset (really dig into financial strengths and weaknesses); if the laboratory aligns with the strategic goals of the larger organization (hospital or health system); and whether or not the laboratory has the right management team to execute.

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