To explore the next era for health care and what it means for laboratories, CEOs and directors from several health systems and laboratories began meeting for “Project Santa Fe,” a concept of Clinical Laboratory 2.0 that emphasizes demonstration of how the laboratory adds value to patient care as a critical clinical and business model for re-engineering the laboratory's role in the health care system.
Curt Hanson, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Mayo Medical Laboratories, recently spoke with CAP TODAY at a workshop he attended to give his take on the Project Santa Fe mission. According to Dr. Hanson, he found it an intriguing and stimulating chance to meet with thought leaders and interact with other executives facing the need to reorient their labs to a value-based perspective.
As a practicing hematopathologist at Mayo Clinic in addition to his leadership role, Dr. Hanson considers it no surprise that clinicians don’t always order tests in efficient ways to get to a final diagnosis because they are burdened with having to know so much information about laboratory tests. In the meantime, he notes, the role of payers has become much more that of a gatekeeper.
“Historically, payers paid for services, but in today’s world, what they really do is allow access to patients through their payment policies. They determine who can see which doctor, and increasingly, they are part of the picture of how patients receive care, whether we like it or not.”
One way that Mayo Medical Laboratories is trying to adapt and be proactive in ensuring the right testing is being done is to collaborate with a clinical decision-support company to offer a tool that helps clinicians with test ordering. Having access to information that looks at the impact of lab tests on overall outcomes is difficult, Dr. Hanson says. But he is glad to see the push to add value gain traction in the lab community and hopes that the clinical decision support is a great first step. Mayo is engaged in several other projects to try to understand how labs can better influence outcomes, he adds.