On May 1, laboratory leaders joined together to address laboratory trends and challenges at the 23rd annual Executive War College in New Orleans. Robert Michel, Editor-in-Chief of The Dark Report and Dark Daily and host of the event, welcomed attendees and advised the attendees to meet someone new in the room and share an innovation that is occurring within their laboratory. Collaboration, networking, and sharing of best practices was encouraged throughout the two-day conference not only through presentations from the podium but through round-table discussions and informal conversations.
William Morice II, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Mayo Clinic Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and President of Mayo Medical Laboratories presented a keynote presentation to a packed room of conference attendees. Dr. Morice described how new developments in science, technology, and finance will influence laboratory medicine.
Dr. Morice addressed what he feels are the three disruptive factors that will influence the clinical laboratory industry: massive parallel multi-analyte analysis; high-speed, high-complexity computing (machine learning and self-improving algorithms); and miniaturization and nanotechnologies such as light-emitting diodes.
Of interest to many attendees in the room was discussion regarding how much financial influence pharmaceutical companies can have on the clinical laboratory marketplace. Dr. Morice shared examples of how the pharmaceutical industry has increased its interest in the clinical laboratory industry. He explained that the explosion in knowledge about how genetic mutations are involved in cancer is a parallel trend that fuels growth in the number of drugs that require a companion diagnostic test.
“In the $25 billion pharmaceutical market, 90% of the sales are from oncology drugs,” says Dr. Morice. “These facts demonstrate how a huge amount of revenue for three giant companies increasingly depends on the availability of a clinical laboratory to do the diagnostic test.”
A summary of Dr. Morice’s presentation can be found in its entirety on The Dark Report Insider.
Jane Hermansen, MT(ASCP), Manager of Outreach and Network Development at Mayo Medical Laboratories, presented, “It’s Still Possible to Thrive and Prosper in Ever-Tougher Times: Lessons from How the Nation’s Best-Performing Hospital Outreach Labs Are Responding to Medicare Fee Cuts, Narrow Networks, and Tougher Competition.”
Hermansen leveraged her 30 years of laboratory experience to share her prediction—the laboratory can thrive in this changing health care environment. She shared numerous case studies of community hospitals and health systems that have worked with Mayo Medical Laboratories, have forged ahead, and have succeeded. These organizations are finding opportunities to use the laboratory as a valuable lever to increase hospital revenue, efficiently use laboratory capacity; lower unit cost; expand test menus; and develop new, profitable business lines. Hermansen offered the attendees a list of common missteps and elements for success such as, “Don’t assume that leadership understands the value of the laboratory outreach program,” and, "Treat your outreach program like a service-line business.”
"The role of the laboratory outreach program remains relevant, especially in today's health care environment. Mayo Medical Laboratories is dedicated to supporting our clients’ outreach program development, preparing them for success in challenging times," said Hermansen. "The most successful laboratories are those that are able to adapt to change, be proactive, and look for creative ways to overcome competitive and reimbursement challenges."
On Wednesday afternoon, Amy Clayton, M.D., Anatomic Pathology Division Chair, and Muna Khan, Senior Principal Health Systems Engineer, Mayo Clinic Management Engineering and Consulting, presented, “Using the Strategic Planning Process to Advance Key Initiatives through Staff Engagement.”
The duo addressed a topic that many hospitals and laboratories are challenged with—staff burnout. Dr. Clayton and Mr. Khan shared how Mayo's Division of Anatomic Pathology improved staff satisfaction and created a measurable process to continually improve by focusing on an essential tactic—involve staff members in the process and let their voices be heard. Dr. Clayton encouraged attendees to take the time to understand what staff members feel are the real issues and let them create solutions. “Our division goals are not my goals; they are my staff members' goals. They all want to work more efficiently and to feel like their contributions are meaningful,” said Dr. Clayton.
The strategic process that was implemented in the Division of Anatomic Pathology serves as a universal process for numerous improvement efforts and provided attendees with an outline to tackle key initiatives in their own facilities.