By Mackin Bannon

February 7, 2024

According to a report from the American Hospital Association, over half of hospitals ended 2022 operating at a financial loss, primarily due to hospital expense growth outpacing Medicare reimbursement by about 10 percent.

To combat these financial challenges, health systems are looking for ways to “launch new lines of business, add new services and find ways to differentiate,” according to Optum. Their survey of 150 healthcare leaders found that 49 percent consider growth one of the industry's top challenges. 

“Hospital-based labs across the United States are forging ahead with their lab outreach services in ways that generate many benefits,” said Jane Hermansen, manager of outreach and network development at Mayo Clinic Laboratories, in an interview with Dark Daily.

Helping physicians deliver better care

Because of their community-based locations, health system and hospital-based labs can gain a superior level of trust with providers and patients. 

“Hospital laboratories are uniquely positioned to deliver value to the physicians and other providers in the towns and regions they serve,” said a recent Dark Daily article. “The obvious benefit is that the lab, its employees and its clinical pathologists all live in the community. They have professional relationships that may go back decades with the physicians who order medical laboratory tests for their patients.”

Additionally, many health system labs have available capacity and, due to being local, can turn around results faster. Often they can run tests and report results on the same day samples are received. Plus, when a hospital-based lab performs both inpatient and outpatient testing for a patient over years, providers can see their entire lab test history and gain a better understanding of that patient’s overall health.

Providing a competitive advantage

Health system labs can provide significant advantages to providers over external reference laboratories. In addition to the level of trust and fast turnaround times mentioned previously, hospital-based outreach labs can use their own lab data to provide additional value.

“When lab data is combined with patient demographics and other sets of data, an outreach laboratory can develop clinically actionable intelligence that helps physicians and health insurers improve patient care, while lowering the total cost of care,” said the aforementioned Dark Daily article. “When packaged correctly, these enriched data offerings can generate a new source of revenue for lab outreach programs.”

Having a robust analytics tool beyond what your electronic health record (EHR) or laboratory information system (LIS) is essential to delivering these types of insights. hc1 Performance Analytics™ connects your disparate lab data sources, such as LIS, billing and EHR, to deliver actionable, real-time insights via dashboards and reports designed specifically for the lab.

Emphasizing customer relationship management

Labs looking to grow their outreach programs will benefit from increasing focus on customer relationship management. Feedback on service quality, turnaround times and any issues that may arise will help enhance the partnership over time.

A robust operations and customer relationship management (CRM) solution integrated with the laboratory information system (LIS) using a real-time HL7 interface can provide the actionable insights and data necessary to target and engage prospects and service existing outreach clients. 

hc1 clients leveraging hc1 Operations Management™ and hc1 Performance Analytics™ have grown their outreach labs by as much as 90% in less than five years. Read this past hc1 blog post for five things contributing to their success.

 

Managing and growing a laboratory outreach program is essential to many health systems. Leveraging a robust operations and customer relationship management solution like hc1’s can provide valuable account health and client insights. Request a demo today to discuss how we can work together to grow your lab outreach program in the new year.

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Mackin Bannon is the product marketing manager for hc1. Mackin held various roles covering nearly every marketing area before settling on product marketing as a focus and joining hc1 in 2022. During the workday, he enjoys bringing stories to life in clear and creative ways. In his free time, he enjoys following his favorite sports teams, collecting vinyl records and exploring Indianapolis.

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