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As a physician, you’re probably looking for ways to create efficiencies in your practice while improving the quality of care you provide your patients. In-office laboratory testing can help you address both of these issues, but, before implementing an in-office lab, there are three key criteria to consider:
When determining whether to add laboratory testing to your medical practice, the one question you should ask yourself is, “Will a treatment plan be initiated or modified based upon what I learn from having test results available during the patient visit?” Findings show that in more than 90% of patient conditions in primary care settings, the answer is yes.
Yet, even with such a high percentage, many medical practices don’t offer in-house laboratory testing for a variety of concerns:
In response to these concerns, we offer three key criteria that can help tell you how to prepare for developing and implementing a physician office laboratory.
But, first and foremost, each practice must decide its defining reason for implementing a laboratory, and make sure it is clearly communicated to both the staff and the patients of the practice confidently. This is your “lab mission”. One recommended lab mission is: “to provide routinely needed lab screening and monitoring tests important to guide development and/or modifications to the treatment programs for our patients”. The mission statement establishes the credible reason for performing these services and serves as a reminder of the importance of lab testing in the patient care mission overall. It also creates the general boundaries of which tests will be performed and which will be sent out to a hospital or reference laboratory.
Once you are confident of your lab mission, it’s time to address being “ready”. Careful planning smooths the path to efficient implementation and adds confidence with the staff and patients alike.
Being lab ready has many dimensions, including determining which tests to perform. This is a critical decision. Here are some considerations and best practices to think about:
A connected lab runs more efficiently than one that relies on manual input of information.
Willingness to implement lab testing involves both confidence in the testing mission and commitment to implement the lab tests and overcome obstacles along the way.
Ability tests every element of “readiness” and is your final assurance that your laboratory will run smoothly and provide the service level you and your patients expect.
Learn what one question can help you determine whether you should be offering in-office laboratory testing in your medical practice.
Now that your physician office is ready to implement in-office lab testing, how do you know which test options you should offer? Learn how the 80/20 rule can help.
Explore how expanding point-of-care lab testing or transitioning from CLIA-waived to moderately complex lab testing can help address some of the needs generated from an outcomes-based approach.
Our Laboratory Implementation Team helps with initial lab setup and implementation, ensuring you have enough space for lab equipment, verifying hazard protocols, validating and testing equipment and more. This team can help set up single pieces of lab equipment or help build an entire new lab. Email us today to get started.
*This content is intended to provide only a general overview and it is recommend an expert be consulted regarding specific licensing requirements.