Today’s laboratory environment is constantly changing in some way or another, and those who wish to stay relevant and succeed must embrace digital transformation and stay on top of new rules and regulations. At XIFIN, we recognize that laboratories can often be overlooked in the wide scope of healthcare and understand the importance of engaging with our customers and partners. By pooling our collective knowledge, we can better influence these complex industry issues and guide them in a positive direction, that benefits everyone. At a recent customer event, we met with a large group of our customers and discussed a variety of different laboratory topics. In this blog, we give you an overview of some of the bigger takeaways we think can be useful to all labs.
Pressing Regulatory Issues
Among the many regulatory hurdles labs must deal with, the largest currently is PAMA. While there is bipartisan support for the fight against PAMA, Julie Khani, President of the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA), told the gathering that we still need a comprehensive piece of legislation that includes hospitals as a part of PAMA. The main reason this is so difficult to accomplish is the legislation could potentially raise PAMA rates and require Congress to spend more money, hence requiring them to decide how to offset the expense of the legislation.
What can be done?
In the past few years, ACLA has been adamant about building stakeholder support for many issues, especially regarding PAMA. By partnering with organizations like the American Academy of Family Physician and the Cancer Support Community, ACLA is broadening the advocacy for issues that affect labs. Getting people outside of the lab to think about lab-related issues is one of the best ways to get the ball rolling faster.
Thrivers vs. Survivors
What separates a thriving lab from one that simply survives? According to Mutaz Shegewi, Research Director, Provider IT Transformation Strategies at IDC Health Insights, it involves embracing digital transformation and adopting next-generation revenue cycle management (RCM). Traditional RCM is back-end billing focused and all about driving claims, while next-gen RCM focuses on end-to-end alignment of the revenue cycle and making sure the RCM system caters to all the functions across the organization.
The integration of RCM with existing technologies allows labs to be viewed as revenue centers as opposed to cost centers. In his presentation, Mutaz explained that a tell-tale sign of a thriving laboratory is when technologies are purpose-built, and workflows are optimized and repeatable. To achieve this, the following technologies should be considered:
Across the lab industry, a new term – Lab 2.0 – is emerging. But what does it really mean and why is it significant? XIFIN CEO and Executive Chair, Lâle White described the Lab 2.0 initiative as using diagnostics to help improve quality and outcomes while reducing cost. This means breaking away from laboratory norms and focusing more on innovation.
In a panel discussion, Dr. James Crawford, Senior Vice President Laboratory Services at Northwell Health, explained that Lab 2.0 might require you to start doing things that aren’t currently generating revenue but are aimed at the long game. Stakeholders need to consider your lab as a strategic asset; if you are seen just as a service for analytic results, then you won’t differentiate yourself and succeed long term. The benefit of Lab 2.0 is being appreciated and recognized as a provider and no longer just a necessary cost of the health system. This movement is primed to change the idea of labs as transactional and instead shift them to be a part of the care standard.
Interested in learning more about the current landscape of the laboratory industry? Read our white paper “Diagnostics and Market Disruption - The New Normal”