McLaren Health Care is redesigning the way it performs patient laboratory testing. This change will allow the system to maximize efficiency, increase expertise, and further reduce costs. However, it will still maintain the highest-quality testing services for physicians and patients. The key? Creating a new central laboratory.
“Currently, each of McLaren’s independent hospitals has its own full-service laboratory,” says Paul Belonga, vice president of Laboratory Services for McLaren Health Care. “By consolidating some of these resources to develop one central lab, we will be able to perform testing with greater efficiency, more cost effectiveness, and ultimately provide more timely results, helping to improve patient care.”
McLaren Health Care purchased a 40,000-square-foot building in Flint and is renovating it into its Central Lab. The new lab, which is scheduled to open in early 2012, will be created within the shell of the building. It will focus on centralizing functions into one physical space, with open, flexible architecture and the standardized processing of specimens.
Lab to Focus on Non-urgent Testing
Initially, McLaren’s Central Lab will perform the health system’s microbiology testing, outpatient testing, testing currently sent to reference laboratories, as well as any inpatient testing that is considered nonurgent. All hospitals will retain an in-house laboratory to conduct stat testing needed for inpatient treatment decisions as well as a full-service blood bank and surgical pathology services (if currently providing this service).
“There will be no compromise in turnaround time for testing results,” explains Belonga. “Any testing that is needed immediately for treatment decisions will still be performed on site.”
Belonga explains that, in many cases, the Central Lab will be able to provide testing results to physicians more quickly than in the past. With the additional volume from the consolidation of testing from the various sites, the Central Lab will have a broader test menu than any of the current laboratories. This will reduce the time and the cost of sending specimens to an outside reference laboratory.
Reduce Costs, Boost Revenue
The Central Lab is expected to strengthen McLaren Health Care financially through cost savings such as the consolidation of equipment and technology and the reallocation of staff. However, over the next few years, the McLaren Central Laboratory will be focusing on building
up its presence in the outreach market and generating additional testing at the Flint site.
“Not only will acquiring new business from other sources strengthen our financial stability,
it will also allow us to grow laboratory staffing down the line,” says Belonga. “This is truly a win-win situation for our physicians, patients, employees, and overall business success.”