6 things to know about improving hospital lab services

Hospitals face significant cost and reimbursement pressure. To improve quality while lowering costs, hospitals must ensure they run smooth laboratory services.

During a Feb. 22 presentation sponsored by the Cain Brothers, Quest Diagnostics' Jon Cohen, MD, senior vice president and group executive of diagnostic solutions, and Mike Lukas, the company's general manager of professional lab services, shared insights on the importance of optimizing lab services.

Here are six things to know.

1. Hospitals are responsible for about $48 billion (60 percent) of the total $81 billion spent on lab testing services in the U.S.

2. The presenters said solutions for improving lab strategies should focus on three main items: increasing revenue, decreasing costs and improving quality.

3. Hospitals using professional lab services often achieve 10 to 20 percent in cost savings, improve turnaround time for low volume tests, decrease staffing needs and free up space, among other advantages.

4. Hospital lab services also offer best practices feedback and utilization tools for healthcare organizations to further improve lab services.

5. Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, Conn., signed on for a five-year full lab contract with Quest Diagnostics and saved 12 to 14 percent in the first year, according to the presentation.

6. Quest Diagnosis manages about 120 hospital labs across the country, 38 of which were from deals in the last three years. Over the past 14 months, Quest Diagnosis entered partnerships with Long Branch, N.J.-based RWJ Barnabas Health, New York City-based Montefiore and PeaceHealth in Vancouver, Wash.

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