Our subject matter experts, who are nationally recognized in their field include CPA’s, MBA’s, Licensed Medical Scientists (ASCP), and a team of experienced laboratory business professionals who are best positioned to assist hospitals, health systems, attorneys, and investment bankers successfully manage healthcare industry challenges in the lab sector.
When a company makes the wrong strategic decision, everyone can tell that something has gone wrong. According to a recent study, strategic mistakes can cost a company as much as three percent of profits. This means that every important decision needs evaluation. Healthcare advisory services are there to see that the right methodologies and processes are in place for every important strategic move.
Good due diligence really is the difference between success and failure. That won’t be a surprise to any lab leader; clinical laboratory operations are always grounded in quality management. Business operations should have that same solid foundation. Just as with quality management, it’s helpful to be able to call in other experts to review key decisions. That is what advisory solutions offer.
A good clinical laboratory consulting firm should have many years of experience to offer its clients. Moreover, its staff should have a wide range of certifications and degrees, such as CPA, MBA, and MLS(ASCP). To get a solid mix of expertise, a consulting company needs to have people from a variety of backgrounds. Yet authentic feedback may be the most important quality to look for. A consultant needs to be able to communicate directly about the issues that health systems need to fix if they want to achieve their strategic goals.
There are alternatives to clinical laboratory strategic consulting.
Hospitals and health systems may have subject matter experts who specialize in boosting the efficiency of operations and in evaluating strategic decisions, or they may hire them. They may also hire large, business Consulting groups with experience across multiple industries.
Accumen Strategic Consultants work specifically with clinical laboratories across the US, answering varying strategic questions. This allows our consultants to benefit from learning across multiple clients and gain up-to-date knowledge across a wide variety of laboratory-specific disciplines, enabling them to advise on a wide variety of challenges that a client may experience.
For example, one client came to Accumen after it had attempted to capitalize on an opportunity to boost revenues by $20 million. Executives were excited at the prospect of significantly increasing profits and winning the trust of new customers. However, the company did not submit its plan to a rigorous due diligence process. The plan looked solid on paper, but without lab-specific consulting expertise, the risks were under-valued and, as a result, unmitigated. By the end of the initiative, it had lost almost all trust with its employees, providers, and partners. Without expert review, even the most attractive opportunity can lead a company into a very bad situation.
Clinical laboratory strategy, like that of any industry, must adapt to change. Strategic planning has to consider changes in the workforce, in technology, and in demand. Being wedded to one way of thinking for too long will impact lab productivity and profitability. Instead, being willing to alter delivery to meet changing needs will make success more likely.
Outreach programs are one key aspect of a clinical lab’s strategy and can help meet the hospital’s strategic priorities. This involves having a good business plan and driving strategy execution.
Accumen works with both laboratories and their architects to help labs understand their strategic space options to meet the needs of their hospitals and patients. We have the expertise to provide guidance through all stages of the planning, programming, design, and build stages of laboratory space planning.
Clinical lab space planning is key to improved workflow and staff productivity. Master Planning efforts allow a laboratory to ensure its departments are ideally situated both in relation to each other and in relation to the inpatient clinical services they support. At Accumen, we utilize “zero-based” space programming. We first project future volumes, based on both organic and strategic test volume growth by functional area (department). Then, we project the equipment that will be required to meet those test volume projections in each area. Finally, we build a test fit that encompasses those equipment projections, adding in administrative and staff support spaces to determine how much space a lab of your test volume and complexity requires.
Once we understand how much space your laboratory needs, we propose a detailed workstation layout. When designing workstation layout with a department, minimizing steps not only enhances the efficiency of lab operations, it also improves staff satisfaction and wellbeing throughout long daytime and nighttime shifts. Laboratory operational leaders will find spaghetti diagrams to be a useful tool to display everyone’s walk pattern and evaluate different layouts.
Believe it or not, many medical lab scientists appreciate it when leadership is continually experimenting with better ways of doing things. Who doesn’t want to work for a team that’s constantly getting better, especially when leadership is focused on removing pain points in your layout?
As the healthcare space faces increased regulation and competitive pressures, many health systems are trying to build out lab networks. The idea is to capitalize on economies of scale and simplify the requirements needed for continued regulatory approval.
It is much harder for a small organization to shoulder the burden of administrative and compliance work than it is for a larger organization to do the same. This is one reason why mergers and acquisitions have accelerated across the healthcare industry in recent years. That trend shapes every area of operations, including the laboratory.
As a result, there is a huge opportunity for any clinical laboratory that can become a “preferred lab” for a health system. Preferred labs receive far more orders from health systems and are known for having certain quality and efficiency standards. These are the labs that stay open, and maybe even get bigger, as smaller labs are shuttered in the name of efficiency.
In order to achieve preferred lab status, lab services need to maintain cutting-edge standards across a wide range of tests. Clinical laboratory consultants can help labs navigate this complex landscape to ensure that they have the most compelling test menu to offer. It’s also important to take account of trends in public health that shape lab services.
Like many other healthcare organizations, clinical laboratory operations must generate revenue to remain viable. This means that the fee schedule for laboratory services is of paramount importance. Though fees are in large part dependent on CMS decisions, there is much that medical laboratory leaders can do to enhance their revenue and reduce costs. A comprehensive laboratory management program will tackle reimbursement head-on to ensure the long-term viability of laboratory services.
Optimizing lab reimbursement can be a lengthy and complicated process requiring administrative expertise to navigate. For that reason, it’s important to have a clear and well-defined strategy around clinical laboratory fees. Leaders should take everything into account as they plan. It’s safe to say that running a medical laboratory requires a mix of scientific, healthcare, and business expertise. Medical plans vary in their reimbursement policies, and both state and federal governments influence fee schedule spreads in a number of ways. This means that lab reimbursement can be especially challenging. Nonetheless, it is a vital component of laboratory management.
Of course, reimbursement only covers half of the laboratory ROI financial picture. The other half, laboratory costs, is a crucial part of the story. Providing laboratory services like cancer screening and diagnostic testing efficiently will have a direct effect on the bottom line.
On the administrative side of things, hospital laboratories are also fine-tuning their accepted insurance price estimates to better forecast costs and income. Today’s data analytic systems are now making it easier to improve laboratory operations than ever before. Moreover, many are upgrading their revenue cycle management system, or RCM system, offerings. RCM solutions help hospitals manage the patient journey from order through to payment, giving high-level insight and reducing potential issues. Today, many are also utilizing automation to reduce the administrative burden on employees. In combination, these tools are helping hospital labs increase ROI.
Optimizing the laboratory as a strategic asset can provide a consistent revenue stream at a healthy margin. Explore five key takeaways.