Strategic expansion to serve a growing community

Case Study

Faced with a population increase and the need to expand both laboratory testing capacity and capabilities, Yuma Regional Medical Center leaned into its relationship with Mayo Clinic Laboratories to gain insights to strengthen community ties, attract new providers, and positively impact patient outcomes.

Their challenge

Situated midway between San Diego, California, and Phoenix, Arizona, Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC), a 406-bed not-for-profit hospital, is the primary medical center for the residents of the large, predominantly rural area. Within the past decade, the area has experienced steady growth, seeing a 5% population increase from 2010 to 2021,1 and YRMC Laboratory has been challenged to keep pace with increasing patient numbers.

This challenge intensified during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving little capacity for YRMC laboratory leaders to understand how to strategically guide the growth, says Nilesh ‘Neal” Kachalia, administrative director of YRMC Laboratory. In late 2021, the laboratory started looking once again to the future. Kachalia and his team needed to take a hard look at their current lab operations to ensure they were poised to grow successfully and serve more providers and patients in their community.

Kachalia and his team

By the numbers


million tests performed annually


year collaboration with Mayo Clinic Laboratories


outpatients served every month

Their solution

To meet the growing needs of the community, YRMC began plans to build a new, larger laboratory space. In anticipation of the move to the new lab, YRMC began a comprehensive review of its current practices. This included how best to recruit and retain employees, optimize testing efficiency, and improve patient access. To kickstart this process, YRMC participated in a comprehensive engagement with Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ team of laboratory outreach specialists, who have assisted hundreds of health care organizations in the past with similar projects. The outreach specialists interviewed YRMC leadership, staff, and providers, conducted pre- and post-analytic workflow assessments, and reviewed financial and market data. In the end, Kachalia and his team were presented with a 360-degree view of the laboratory’s strengths and weaknesses.

“They were able to provide very good insights into how we are doing things today — are we being effective, or do we have an opportunity to optimize?” Kachalia says.

A significant finding from Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ report was the growth YRMC could achieve once they expanded their capacity and secured their spot in the local market, including necessary investments to achieve that growth.

These growth opportunities were surprising, says Kachalia. Projections indicated that YRMC had the potential to serve an additional 300 providers in the area through their laboratory services. This could double their lab’s revenue.

All of this was provided to Kachalia and his team in an easy-to-digest “scorecard” format with goals and tactics. “That was amazing and really helpful in terms of somebody communicating in a short and detailed manner so that you can answer any questions that that your organization may have,” Kachalia says. “Plus, you make the decision based on the data, not based on just subjective feelings.” For example, the report included concrete staffing projections and benchmarks they would need to hit as they grew.

What’s next?

The recommendations offered by Mayo Clinic Laboratories are key to the future growth of the institution, Kachalia says. “We are in the process of building a new laboratory with increased capacity, and as we build this new lab this helps us understand those capacity needs.”

Once the new lab is up and running in the spring of 2023, Kachalia is aiming to implement a new radio-frequency identification system (RFID) to improve the lab’s specimen tracking capabilities. The patient benefit for such a tracking improvement is supported by Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ documentation.

“We have a good pathway for how we start from where we are and how we engage ourselves more actively every day into the outreach program by optimizing our current operations, which would have been difficult for us to do on our own,” says Kachalia.

More information

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Robin Huiras-Carlson

Robin Huiras-Carlson is a senior marketing specialist at Mayo Clinic Laboratories and a Mayo Clinic employee since 2015. Her writing focuses on specialty testing, innovation, and patient-focused initiatives.