At 4 o’clock each afternoon, a courier picks up patient specimens from Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, Michigan, and begins the process of delivering them to Mayo Clinic Laboratories in Rochester, Minnesota.
Munson Healthcare, an eight-hospital system, has worked with Mayo Clinic Laboratories for more than 30 years. The system’s community hospital labs provide basic testing, but Munson turns to Mayo Clinic Laboratories for its highly specialized clinical lab test needs.
“It’s cost-prohibitive to maintain the instrumentation and quality measures for a more robust lab,” says John Keep, M.D., laboratory medical director, Munson Medical Center. “For clinical lab testing, Mayo Clinic Laboratories is unique. They provide consultation with experts about specific tests as part of their service. You can tell their model is patient care-driven, and so is ours.”
Tests that Munson outsources to Mayo Clinic Laboratories include those for rheumatologic, immunologic, metabolic, and chromosomal disorders; bone marrow biopsy; flow cytometry; oncology; and drug monitoring.
“If we get a result we don’t understand, we can talk to a member of the Mayo Clinic team who interpreted the test and find out what the results mean for the individual patient."John Keep, M.D.
“Recently we sent tissue from a lung biopsy for molecular analysis and were able to consult with an expert at Mayo about whether a new drug has specificity for the type of lung cancer the patient has. The Mayo Clinic expertise on the other end of the testing is valuable," said Dr. Keep.
Representatives from Mayo Clinic Laboratories visit Munson Healthcare regularly, including a quarterly meeting with the laboratory management team—another plus in Dr. Keep’s eyes.
“The representatives are very knowledgeable about the processes and educate our staff about order entry, forms, and packaging samples to make sure things run smoothly,” says Dr. Keep. “They also provide staff to visit our labs and make suggestions about workflow analysis to help us operate more efficiently. It’s evident that Mayo Clinic puts a lot of thought into its processes and is known for its operational efficiency. We value our partnership and the opportunity to learn from them. These personal interactions are one more piece of the extra value Mayo Clinic Laboratories provides.”