Mindset Shift Moves Labs from Transactions to Insights

How do you plan for the future in a rapidly changing environment? That is the big task that laboratories are being asked to do. There is no roadmap, yet their financial livelihood is dependent upon developing a strategy for an uncertain future.

Beth Bailey, director of strategic development at TriCore Reference Laboratories and James Crawford, M.D., Ph.D., chair of pathology and laboratory medicine at Northwell Health System, co-facilitated FutureLab Summit, a strategic planning session prior to G2 Intelligence’s 36th annual Lab Institute (Oct. 24-26; Washington, D.C.).

“Laboratories are designed to be transactional. So, how do you become strategic and fund these initiatives?” Crawford asked the group. Thinking strategically in challenging times is how successful laboratories will navigate from 1.0 to 2.0.

There are some certainties in 1.0. Laboratories provide access to accurate, timely testing results in response to orders. This is how labs currently operate with a focus on cost-per-test in a transactional, reactive capacity.

The goal is for laboratories to develop plans to achieve 2.0 status in which in addition to maintaining competency in clinical testing, laboratories deliver value to the consumer, the payer, and the health system in a proactive, strategic fashion.

“This is not survival, this is thrival,” says Crawford.

The day-long workshop was designed to provide an external scan of threats (e.g., Protecting Access to Medicare Act, consumerism) and opportunities (e.g., value-based focus, joint partnerships, big data, new technology), with input from subject-matter experts. Then, attendees had an opportunity to begin the process of developing an internal assessment of how their laboratories will defend against the threats and to maximize the opportunities through targeting specific strategies.

“‘Lab 2.0’ requires ‘Medicine 2.0.’ Lab cannot generate ‘2.0’ on its own,” Crawford says. We need to build proactive systems. Diagnosis is single event. We need to deliver Insights.”

Pictured above are Crawford and Bailey with attendees at FutureLab, a Lab Leadership Summit presented prior to the Lab Institute conference.


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