AbstractLaboratory services around the world are undergoing substantial consolidation and changes through mechanisms ranging from mergers, acquisitions and outsourcing, primarily based on expectations to improve efficiency, increasing volumes and reducing the cost per test. However, the relationship between volume and costs is not linear and numerous variables influence the end cost per test. In particular, the relationship between volumes and costs does not span the entire platter of clinical laboratories: high costs are associated with low volumes up to a threshold of 1 million test per year. Over this threshold, there is no linear association between volumes and costs, as laboratory organization rather than test volume more significantly affects the final costs. Currently, data on laboratory errors and associated diagnostic errors and risk for patient harm emphasize the need for a paradigmatic shift: from a focus on volumes and efficiency to a patient-centered vision restoring the nature of laboratory services as an integral part of the diagnostic and therapy process. Process and outcome quality indicators are effective tools to measure and improve laboratory services, by stimulating a competition based on intra- and extra-analytical performance specifications, intermediate outcomes and customer satisfaction. Rather than competing with economic value, clinical laboratories should adopt a strategy based on a set of harmonized quality indicators and performance specifications, active laboratory stewardship, and improved patient safety.
Diagnosis – de Gruyter
Published: Jun 27, 2018
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