Mayo Clinic Labs @ Work
Thousands of people in hundreds of different roles work at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. Mayo Clinic Labs @Work offers a glimpse behind the scenes into this busy reference laboratory, featuring staff from throughout the organization talking about what they do and why they do it.
My role is a bid coordinator for Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ Bid Processing team, which is part of our Finance group. I’ve been in this role for four years, and I’ve been on the bid team for a total of 18 years. I started working as a laboratory bid analyst in August 2003 and then moved into the pricing analyst role in 2014.
Four years ago, I accepted this new role as bid coordinator. Prior to working on this team, I was a technical resource specialist. What got me to Mayo Clinic originally was my first job as a bench technologist in the lab then known as the Lipids/Lipoprotein Lab in 1995.
Labs and hospitals outside of Mayo Clinic want to send their lab testing somewhere else because it may be more cost effective for them to send out their samples for testing. Our group bids on that business for Mayo Clinic Laboratories.
In my role, I create and manage processes with my colleagues so our team can work more efficiently. A great deal of my work is focused on test implementation. I help review the test implementation agenda to see what new tests or test changes might impact client pricing. I collaborate with other staff, such as product managers, to come up with a client pricing strategy. From there, I perform client price analysis that may entail adjusting fees for new tests.
I’m also part of a team that works to make enhancements with our bid tool application — a very robust tool we use every day in our work. Those enhancements help the bid team work more efficiently. I enjoy much of my day interacting with Mayo Clinic Laboratories teams and the bid team.
The bid team largely supports the field sales team. That team works with existing clients and new clients to bring additional laboratory testing to Mayo Clinic, and they can request anywhere from one test to thousands of tests that we then bid on. Oftentimes, there’s significant competition from other labs. The client pricing work that we do needs to be competitive enough to win the business. But more importantly, we want clients to use our services because we are aligned with the mission of having the right test ordered at the right time for the right patient. I feel good about being part of the success when we win business. But it’s not only about winning business. We’re trying to get testing through those client doors that meets patient needs, making sure our clients know what we have available to them. Many of our clients are regional labs. We work with them to expand the testing that they can offer to people in their area, and that has a significant benefit for those people.
With my background and experience as a laboratorian, I’m familiar with many aspects of the labs that people might not expect. For example, when I’m pulled into conversations where there are discussions about the optimal way to build a test, I can participate in those conversations. I have a degree in medical technology, so I can still speak lab. When I was a technical resource specialist, I supported clients and experienced how they were impacted by test changes, and I understand the financial impacts as well with my role today. That means I can lend my expertise on a lot of levels to help with the decision-making process.
Balancing and prioritizing projects and day-to-day work is always a challenge. When I was in the lab, there was usually a concrete start and end to the day. In this role, the work flows from one day to the next. Managing workload and deciding on priorities for the day can be tricky.
Seeing success in the work that I have done and the projects I’ve been part of in collaboration with others is rewarding. For example, when there is good thought put into a client price analysis, and there are little to no calls from clients afterward — because we know we’d hear about it if there were problems — that is a win. I also lead and facilitate a project called the annual list review that involves working with several departments. We start in August and finish in November. Now that I’ve worked on it for a few years and everyone understands their roles and deadlines, it goes very smoothly. Again, at the conclusion of that big project there is a feeling of accomplishment through collaboration. I’m proud to be part of a successful bid team.
Connie Ohnstad is the supervisor for Mayo Clinic Laboratories Inventory, which includes Mayo Clinic Laboratories Packaging and Specimen Kit Orders (SKO). Connie wears many hats as a supervisor at MCL, and she has a long history with Mayo Clinic, which has employed several generations of Connie’s family. She takes pride in ensuring that every day she offers her best for her employees, patients, and clients.
Heather Zovnic is a region director of sales of gastroenterology and infectious disease with Mayo Clinic Laboratories (MCL). Heather leads a team of clinical specialty representatives who meet with hospital laboratory and clinic staff across 20 states in the western United States. They help ordering providers learn about Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ comprehensive test catalog and specialty test offerings.
Tim Plummer is an operations administrator at Mayo Clinic Laboratories supporting the Division of Anatomic Pathology. He supports his team members by providing them with tools and resources to innovate and succeed. He has worked at Mayo Clinic for over 36 years and is driven by the determination to help people solve problems, help others be happy and successful, and be a part of solutions.