Mayo Clinic Laboratories supports 11 key tactics for laboratory outreach to increase hospital revenue, decrease costs, and improve patient care. By optimizing these areas and tracking metrics, laboratories are better positioned to demonstrate their value to the organization.
The perception of the laboratory as a cost-generating patient-care service or a high-value commodity determines the level of support hospital leadership gives to laboratory initiatives. Successful outreach programs capture and retain administrative support and resources through:
Growing an effective outreach program requires a thorough understanding of how laboratory outreach testing is billed and identifying collection challenges. Successful outreach programs must be supported by billing processes that reduce write-offs and bad debt through prior authorizations and point-of-service collections.
Critical to the success of laboratory outreach programs are robust courier networks. Efficient transportation and processing of specimens is vital for meeting turnaround times, streamlining tracking, and measuring quality. Whether the network is owned or outsourced, couriers should be evaluated on specific criteria and capabilities such as:
Our decision-making tools can assist with establishing courier networks:
Tracking outreach metrics provides quantitative results that can be clearly communicated to reassure hospital leadership of the laboratory’s value to the organization. Metrics may include:
Connectivity and reliability are critical attributes of any hospital’s information technology. Ensuring the electronic health record (EHR) allows efficient access for providers to order laboratory tests and view results when located off-site is integral for maximizing efficiencies, as is using your hospital laboratory information system (LIS) to connect all market segments, such as the physician office, skilled nursing, other hospitals, and home health.
An outreach program needs solutions that meet customer segment reporting requirements and enables easy test ordering and results reporting. Also critical is a dedicated staff to support customer connectivity and IT needs. Effective technology also can facilitate utilization management using decision-support tools to guide test orders.
Institutional culture plays a large role in an outreach program’s success or failure. Whereas externally focused organizations might discount the labs’ financial impact, those that recognize laboratory contributions capitalize on its value. Helping organizational leadership recognize the historic financial and patient care contributions of the laboratory — or potential future contributions — will bring organizational and laboratory perspectives into alignment. This ensures the outreach program will have administrative support and access to necessary resources.
The competition faced by outreach programs from national laboratories, regional independent laboratories, and other hospital programs is fierce. Creating a more supportive laboratory infrastructure entails health system integration and employing agile providers. Successful outreach programs must:
Whether the outreach program is new or expanding, a comprehensive sales and marketing strategy can amplify laboratory test offerings in the target area, enabling a competitive edge in the industry. An effective sales and marketing strategy should include the following:
Generating additional test volumes requires infrastructure and capacity. Necessary functions to support outreach specimens and processes may include:
Patients’ phlebotomy encounters typically define their laboratory experience. Aspects of these encounters include:
Likewise, physicians expect easy access to phlebotomy services for patients to increase compliance. Increasing access might include offering in-office phlebotomy (in states where not prohibited by law). Because this patient-focused service might not be cost-effective in all circumstances, a profitability analysis can justify providing in-office phlebotomy.
Patient Experience Tools:
Health plan contracts play a critical role in constraining or supporting growth of outreach programs. Understanding how laboratory outreach tests are paid and the challenges of various prevalent health plans in the market will help your outreach program compete successfully. A few pricing strategies to consider are:
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