Maximize Profitability and Define Value for Hospital Outreach Labs

  • Mike Hewitt

At the recent ASLCLS / CLMA Iowa meeting, I was encouraged by the emphasis being put on the outreach laboratory business.  Although frequently (still) viewed as services as opposed to profit generators, there are tremendous efforts being made to change this focus and demonstrate the value of the laboratory.  Through standardization, strategic concepts, KPI’s and analytics, previously untapped revenue streams can be maximized.

In a recent article by, “Transforming the Hospital Laboratory into a Profit Center” Charles Wilson, MHA, Vice President of Operations at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital stated, “most people view and envision the laboratory as a service. That’s where I send my blood samples to get tested. It’s a commodity that we budget a certain amount for and that’s it.”

In Wilson’s estimation, hospitals are budgeting a loss for their outreach labs when they should be investing in them to increase profitability.

Other industry leaders are mimicking this sentiment. In an article by Forbes MagazineInvesting in the Lab: The Hidden Jewel in The Healthcare System”, Swedish Covenant lab supervisor states; “We invested in our lab to improve profitability and clinical excellence by measures including reducing errors, improving quality, meeting physician needs, and improving turnaround time.” With more invested in the outreach lab, the number of full-time employees within the technical field where decreased allowing a 20% cost savings according to Forbes.

With this initiative trending to the norm, it is important to nail down the key factors to properly investing in your lab to increase efficiency and most of all cash flow. In a recent webinar, Jane Hermansen of Mayo Clinic / Mayo Medical Laboratories laid out these success factors that are critical to laboratory outreach success:

  • Administrative understanding and support
  • Minimal initial capital investment (use exsiting laboratory capacity)
  • Solid billing practices
  • Competitive pricing structure
  • Supportive laboratory personnel
  • Focus on customer service
  • Adequate outreach infrastructure (or resources to develop)
  • Sales and marketing (amenable relationships)

Want more information on how to maximize your labs success? View the webinar with her on Top Tips for Building and Tracking a Performance-Based Outreach Business here.

Published by XIFIN
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