Survival Strategies for Laboratory Outreach Programs


With the nationwide movement toward value-based payment systems, health system clinical laboratories have an opportunity to shed the traditional volume-driven laboratory model and take the lead in demonstrating how appropriately leveraged diagnostics can improve patient outcomes and lower the overall cost of care.

Jane Hermansen

In a recent article in Medical Lab Management, Jane Hermansen, Network Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories, along with Michael Hiltunen, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Laboratory Network, provide a roadmap for transforming the laboratory from an inpatient-focused hospital entity to a community-focused outreach operation that provides service to physicians and patients, and brings additional volumes and revenues to the hospital or health care system.

The article discusses how the laboratory creates value in terms of the laboratory (and health system) customers’ benefit, and ensure customers and organizational leadership recognize and appreciate that value. According to the article, the laboratory delivers value by:

  • Creating outpatient/outreach laboratory services that meet or exceed patient expectations, thereby increasing access and improving customer satisfaction.
  • Focusing on departmental efficiency (via Lean and other tools), creating cost-effective and affordable laboratory testing.
  • Developing testing protocols and algorithms to support appropriate utilization.
  • Providing a diagnostic testing service to deliver actionable data that can be used to improve patient outcomes.
  • Applying laboratory diagnostics across a population of patients to improve overall health.

The article also provides a step-by-step guide on how to provide value, which includes:

  1. Achieve normalcy and predictability
  2. Establish and meet standards of value
  3. Deliver value that exceeds expectations
  4. Use benchmarks to achieve best in class

Read the full article for more information on transforming the laboratory from an inpatient-focused hospital entity to a community-focused outreach operation.

Kelley Luedke (@kschrib)

Kelley Luedke

Kelley Luedke is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She is the principle editor and writer of Insights and leads social media and direct marketing strategy. Kelley has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2013. Outside of work, you can find Kelley running, traveling, playing with her kitty, and exploring new foods.