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Tech-Driven Support for– or Alternatives to – Lab Consolidation After Hospital M&A

by Kiran Ganda | April 22, 2021 | Blog, What’s New

A recent Becker’s Hospital Review article identified the lab as one of the first areas of consolidation as a result of hospital and health system merger and acquisition (M&A) activity. With such activity expected to be high this year, the article suggests ways labs can prepare for consolidation, including identifying excess or unused lab capacity, identifying tests with non-urgent turnaround times, and ramping up outreach activity to monetize what may otherwise be seen as a high-fixed cost asset ripe for downsizing or sale. But one area the article did not cover is the use of technology to help enable or identify alternatives to technology consolidation. All too often, the health system makes the decision following an M&A to “rip and replace” existing lab infrastructure with one common enterprise EMR, but that can take years to fully implement – leaving the laboratory to struggle with inefficiencies that may risk turnaround and timely patient outcomes.

When best-of-breed laboratory technology is used to address post-M&A needs associated with the coming together of multiple labs, including duplicative or superfluous services, efficiencies across the labs and sites can be maximized. Further, technology may also help newly merged or acquired lab sites avoid downsizing or divestment altogether. Let’s take a detailed look at some examples.

Supporting Multi-Lab Networking

When M&A activity requires that labs from different care sites come together to assess where overlap, strengths, areas for improvement, and capacities lie, among other metrics, technology can help assess these variable performance measures to create collaborative test sharing, routing, and management – whether the labs are to be maintained alongside one another and work together to drive efficiencies – or consolidated to reduce capital costs.

Sunquest Multi-Lab Networking℠ does just that, helping M&A sites build and maintain diagnostic testing networks across previously unrelated laboratory sites for the optimal use of resources. The solution leaves labs more time to focus on the important clinical work, while the technology helps drive the mapping of testing flow. Further, by using technology to connect once disparate labs, benefits of automation become realized, including cleaner order entry, fewer human errors, and faster turnaround times. Send-out costs may also be reduced, as by maintaining connectivity to organizational labs after a merger or acquisition, internal rather than external resources can continue to be leveraged.

About the author
Kiran Ganda Director of Product Marketing
Kiran Ganda
Director of Product Marketing

Having worked exclusively in health technology organizations for more than fifteen years, Kiran is passionate about innovations in patient care.

One organization Sunquest works with has saved more than $6.5M over six years by using Sunquest Multi-Lab Networking to coordinate test sharing and routing across three laboratory sites.

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Driving Outreach

Another way to leverage technology to develop the lab, post M&A activity, requires a shift in strategic thinking. While the Becker’s article presents labs as cost centers, given the heavy fixed investment they require for resources such as space, equipment, and payroll, one could look at maintaining multiple labs as an opportunity to build revenue centers – with the right automation in place. When best-of-breed laboratory technology is deployed to extend the reach of the lab – to patients as well as doctors, consolidating or selling off acquired sites may not in fact be the most appealing option.

Two ways Sunquest helps labs extend their reach are Sunquest Advanced EMR Connectivity℠ and the Sunquest Physician Portal℠. Both offerings position labs to seamlessly, accurately, and efficiently receive external orders from physician offices, either through a physician office EMR or a web-based portal, allowing the lab to grow its business by becoming accessible to previously untapped caregivers. Patient outreach can also be enhanced, if desired, through deployment of the Sunquest PSC Portal℠. This solution provides a better patient experience for what might otherwise be one of multiple draws, long wait times, and little choice of draw site. And of course, installing automation into patient service centers that do not have on-site lab testing is yet another way to bring business back to the organization.

By meeting both physicians and patients where they are, all three of these outreach (and in reach) solutions help bring the benefits of increased volume, decreased write-offs, faster turnaround times, and greater end user (physician and patient) satisfaction.

One Sunquest customer with these solutions in place experienced an outreach revenue stream of more than $100M over five years.

To learn more about the solutions discussed here-in, which are all part of the Sunquest Atlas™ family of orders, results and specimen coordination solutions, contact us today.

About the author
Kiran Ganda Director of Product Marketing
Kiran Ganda
Director of Product Marketing

Having worked exclusively in health technology organizations for more than fifteen years, Kiran is passionate about innovations in patient care.

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