Princeton, NJ (PRWEB) June 13, 2013
In the new anatomic pathology (AP) business landscape, only the strong will survive. Escalating challenges and dwindling profits mean that every lab, whatever its market space, has to take a close look at its business model and make changes to work hard and smart in the new business environment.
“The first step in this effort is to understand what, in fact, the future is likely to bring,” says Rick Callahan, VP of Sales and Marketing at NovoPath, a leading AP IT solutions vendor offering specialized features that can help labs address the new challenges of healthcare. “During the next few years, labs are likely to see more changes than at any time in recent years.”
Major drivers of change have been the Affordable Care Act of 2010, the modified reimbursement for the technical components of anatomic pathology code 88305, the systematic cuts in Medicare Part B Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedules, and the effects of the recent government sequestration. At the same time, baby boomers aging out of the workforce are beginning to create a shortage of experienced lab staff.
The result, Callahan says, is that labs have to do more with less. In an attempt to adapt to healthcare changes and realize economies of scale, labs likely will consolidate, and resulting central labs will need to become more efficient to absorb the volume from the merged facilities. Hospital labs will have advantages due to their built-in in-house business combined with the ability to compete with independent reference labs for referrals from the private practice market. In addition, the potential referral base for independent labs is largely comprised of private practice physicians. This base will shrink as doctors sell their businesses to hospitals and operate as staff employees, utilizing the hospital lab for the processing and diagnosis of their specimens.
“As part of the drive towards new economies, labs may consider minimizing their expenditures on laboratory information systems (LIS). But for many, this is not the best decision,” says Callahan. “The right LIS with the right features can actually support greater lab efficiencies by automating tasks that used to require in-house staffing.”
For any lab, core functionality should include a rapid accessioning process using bar code technology, seamless interfaces to a HIS, EMR, practice management and any additional software and hardware systems utilized to associate a test request with the patient sample. It also includes the ability to document, capture and distribute test results.
Some advanced systems, such as NovoPath, provide business tools to help labs analyze internal processes and procedures and make changes to step up efficiency.
According to Callahan, whether evaluating the first time purchase of a LIS or the replacement of an existing system, labs should ask themselves several key questions: Are you going to focus on growing your outpatient business? Will your test menu be broad and all-encompassing, including molecular testing, or will you focus on a few specialties, partnering with another lab for specialized tests?
“LIS solutions vary widely in features and functions,” he concludes. “Know your goals, evaluate systems carefully and select one fine-tuned to your needs. Investing in a modular LIS such as NovoPath will provide the ability to purchase what is needed today and to upgrade the system cost-effectively in the future.”
About NovoPath, Inc.
NovoPath, Inc. develops and markets software solutions for the Anatomic Pathology Laboratory market segment that includes local, regional, national, and in-house laboratories as well as community and university teaching hospitals and medical centers. Since the release of its flagship product in 1999, NovoPath, Inc. has focused exclusively on Anatomic Pathology. NovoPath's mission is to provide unique and unparalleled solutions and services to all aspects of the Anatomic Pathology sector in a way that improves workflow, reduces the probability of human error, ensures results accuracy for greater patient safety, protects patient confidentiality, and above all, produces more precise and informative diagnostic outcomes. More information is available at http://www.NovoPath.com.