By Lorri Markum

November 30, 2023

The facts are…

  1. Lab testing is the #1 utilized medical benefit.
  2. The volume of tests being sent to labs is increasing, but adequate staff to perform the testing is scarce.

The result? Lab managers are being challenged to do more with less.

Lab leaders and managers nationwide know the challenge of being asked to improve performance, do more and meet goals with fewer resources and staff. Though a steady volume of tests entering clinical labs and health systems is necessary for patient care, not having the proper resources to avoid high levels of staff burnout and a lack of staff retention is creating a breaking point for lab managers. According to the 2023 Lab Trend Report, more than 14 billion clinical laboratory tests are performed each year, making it the number one utilized medical benefit. So, what’s the solution? 

Labs are looking to their data for answers

hc1 recently presented a webinar on
Doing More With Less - How labs can better utilize their data to drive superior outcomes, where Directors of High Value Care, Dawn Seymour and Adam Sajewich shared what some hc1 lab clients have done to overcome their biggest challenges. Through an interactive multiple-choice poll during the webinar, participants were asked what they are expected to do more of while having fewer resources in their labs. The top results were:

  1. Increasing testing volume despite staffing shortages.
  2. Improving test utilization without insight into order habits.

The key to resolving these challenges lies within something every lab has at its fingertips but can’t fully access the true value of––Data. The complexity of lab data prevents many labs from extracting its full value. The data is oriented around a specific observation during a single encounter and combined with qualitative clinical input. This makes viewing the data in a meaningful way in aggregate, across multiple encounters or over time very difficult. Leveraging this powerful resource to its fullest extent requires a dedicated and knowledgeable team to extract its insights.  

Real-time visibility into test utilization helps reduce waste and improve care

Unnecessary medical care contributes billions of dollars annually to healthcare spending in the United States. A critical look at lab ordering across a network can potentially garner millions of dollars in hard cost savings.
hc1 Test Utilization™ helps hospital labs reduce unnecessary low-value and high-cost tests to improve patient care and reduce costs. hc1 Test Utilization evaluates orders in real-time and accounts for diagnosis, location, specialty medications, demographics and more. 

A case study from a 12-hospital health system showing how they achieved positive, measurable change through real-time visibility, data-backed insights and actionable metrics using hc1 Test Utilization was shared during our Doing More with Less webinar. System-wide, they achieved a 5.6% reduction in lab tests per patient per day, which amounted to 147k fewer unnecessary tests per year and a conservative cost savings of $383k per year with just ten clinical guidelines set within the solution. This client success story is one we are very proud of.

Real-time insights fuel outreach growth and overcome disconnected, disparate systems

Other areas of concern voiced by lab leaders were addressed during the
webinar, such as outreach growth and the struggle labs experience because their data and processes are scattered across various disparate systems that are disconnected and unable to communicate with one another. “Because I’m 99% certain that all of us don’t fully understand the capabilities of lab data because of the source system limitations, we’ve architected hc1 solutions from the ground up for laboratories with design first principles that contemplate the multi-dimensional nature of lab to remove these limitations,” Sajewich said, “Not only are we able to provide an intuitive experience, but we can automate workflows and reporting from the platform. You can set thresholds to receive alerts if turnaround times spike above your expectations or you’ve been hit with a volume spike and need to adjust staffing levels to accommodate. We show you where to focus based on what we see within the data your lab generates.”

AI-generated recommendations help to optimize staffing levels to reduce burnout proactively, lower labor costs and improve lab operations

hc1 Workforce Optimization is the most recent addition to the hc1 portfolio and was highlighted during the webinar. Workforce Optimization addresses one of the most significant issues labs face today: adequate staffing. With 73% of labs nationwide experiencing employee understaffing, burnout and turnover are among the most prevalent consequences of consistent understaffing. This can also lead to missed benchmarks and increased turnaround times, negatively impacting patient outcomes.

Workforce Optimization combines lab volume and timekeeping data in a single platform and then utilizes machine learning and AI to create a data-driven strategy that provides actionable recommendations with high-level visibility on where to proactively optimize staffing levels by location, lab department and time of day. All of this helps retain employees, reduce costs and elevate patient care.

Built to help labs succeed

We’re working to close the gap between data and taking action.

hc1 has been helping IDNs, academic medical centers and the largest commercial labs in the world overcome their top challenges for over a decade. Are you ready to learn how to elevate your lab, resolve your staffing challenges, and attain your goals?

To learn more about the aforementioned info and the tangible next steps you can take to capitalize on your data, watch the webinar Doing More With Less on-demand by clicking here and be empowered to conquer your lab’s needs.


Lorri Markum is the marketing manager for hc1 Insights and has over two decades of corporate and nonprofit marketing leadership experience. Lorri specializes in B2B marketing and SEO optimization. Before joining hc1, she was the marketing manager for a nonprofit healthcare organization serving 40 counties throughout Indiana.

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