By Stephanie Murg, Managing Director, G2 Intelligence
A rapidly changing market is creating more opportunities than it is challenges for laboratory medicine, said Quest Diagnostics President and CEO Steve Rusckowski in a keynote address at the 33rd annual Lab Institute, held October 14-16 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. While emphasizing the need for laboratories to voice their concerns about issues such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Proposed Rule on Provisions in the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA), Rusckowski highlighted the openings created by historic shifts brought about by healthcare reform.
Changes to payment systems and benefit design are reshaping business models across healthcare. With the move away from fee-for-service medicine, “We’re seeing more and more organizations that want to partner with our industry,” said Rusckowski, who serves as Chairman of the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA; Washington, D.C.) in addition to heading Madison, New Jersey-based Quest.
In July, Quest announced its new joint venture with Quintiles (Research Triangle Park, N.C.). The combined clinical trials laboratory services organization, of which 60% is owned by Quintiles and 40% by Quest, provides services to biopharmaceutical industry customers. The venture also includes exclusive collaborative efforts “to explore how to use their data assets to enhance areas such as clinical trial patient recruitment and retention, clinical trial design, and companion diagnostic development and commercialization.”
With laboratory outreach, Rusckowski also recognized “the need to move to a partnership model” and noted that “the way we participate in partnerships is part of the change.” In August, Quest completed its acquisition of the MemorialCare Health System’s laboratory outreach business in Southern California.
Another fundamental change emphasized by Rusckowski was the transition away from a trial-and-error approach to medicine. “Science, innovation, and big data will impact care delivery,” he said, pointing to advancements in genomic medicine and the application of advanced analytics for clinical decision support. “What we’re providing is becoming more and more complex, and that insight has to be explained. It’s going to be a larger and larger part of what we do as laboratories.”