R. Lewis Dark:
Patient Satisfaction Has New Significance for Labs
ONCE AGAIN, THE DARK REPORT IS FIRST TO CALL YOUR ATTENTION to a national
trend not previously recognized. Specifically, I refer to how the focus by hospitals
on patient safety and and patient satisfaction has surfaced the dissatisfaction
most patients have with phlebotomy and, by extension, with the representatives
of hospital labs who draw blood. Surveys in recent years show that hospital
patients have expressed significant dissatisfaction with phlebotomy.
With satisfaction scores trending low like this, hospital CEOs are paying
attention and devoting new resources into improving how patients view phlebotomy
services. In this issue, we report national data from Press Ganey
Associates, Inc., that shows how patients consistently rated their lab experience
among the least satisfactory in the hospital. Clearly, labs have a significant
opportunity to help improve the patient satisfaction rankings of their hospital.
Seeing an opportunity, some pathologists and lab directors are getting
in front of this trend. One strategy is to return phlebotomy to
a centralized service in their hospital as a way to reduce errors
and improve patient satisfaction numbers. (See our article, "Phlebotomy
Gets Heightened Attention for Improving Patient Satisfaction," in
TDR dated October
29, 2007.) Another strategy being used by hospital administrators
is to invest in equipment and products designed to improve the patient's
venipuncture experience. (See page 10, "Improving Phlebotomy Lifts
Satisfaction Scores.") I think itís a noteworthy fact that hospital
CEOs are willing to spend money on products to make patients more
comfortable with phlebotomy collections. That shows a keen interest
in lifting patient satisfaction scores in their hospital, for a
very good reason: reimbursement will soon be linked to patient satisfaction.
Next year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will
take patient satisfaction to new levels when it links reimbursement to survey
scores. Beginning July 1, CMS will require HCAHPS (the Hospital Consumer
Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey) for use in
general acute care hospitals tomaintain eligibility for full reimbursement updates.
Matt Mulherin of Press Ganey told us that, within the next year, patients'
perceptions of the care they receive in hospitals will be publicly reported.
Mulherin says that HCAHPS is a new and formal process to give patients more
power and help themmake informed decisions. By linking these scores directly
to reimbursement, patient satisfaction will get even more scrutiny.
Medicare Rules Tighten
Anatomic Path Mark-ups
Federal healthcare regulators issue rules
that limit how physicians can mark up AP services
CEO SUMMARY: Effective on January 1, 2008, new rules take
effect that restrict the circumstances under which physicians
can mark up the anatomic pathology services provided to their
patients. However, ambiguities in how the rules are written are
likely to make the intent of the new rules difficult to apply to all
the types of TC/PC arrangements and anatomic pathology condominium
laboratories that exist in todayís marketplace.
Market Update: PAML and HCA Agree to Start
New Lab Joint Venture in Utah
Labs in U.S. and Australia
Learn from Each Other
Laboratory management meeting in Sydney
brings together innovators from four continents
Australia just conducted its first summit
meeting on laboratory management and a near sell-out crowd
showed up to learn the best and latest. For the Americans in the
audience, there were several surprises. First, Australia has a
highly-competitive laboratory sector, comparable in many
aspects to the private sector here in the United States. Second,
several states are far along at creating a single, statewide
regional laboratory network with a single lab data repository.
Lab Compliance Update: Federal Whistleblower Suit
Settled by Dianon Systems
Is Closely Linked To Hospital Satisfaction Scores
Press Ganey Data Puts Labs Near the Bottom in Satisfaction
Based on patient satisfaction
surveys done across the United States, Press
Ganey Associates, Inc., reports that 'lab' is
ranked near the bottom of 10 clinical services.
Source of these low satisfaction rankings is
phlebotomy, since most patients find needle
sticks uncomfortable and some even have a fear
of needles. To raise patient satisfaction scores,
hospital CEOs are now willing to spend money on
phlebotomy products that improve patientsí
experience with blood collection.
ARUP, Motoman Automate
Thawing and Mixing Steps
Two companies collaborate in the design
of customized, modular automation solution
Laboratory automation continues to
develop in unexpected new directions. Recently, ARUP
Laboratories and Motoman, Inc., collaborated to develop an
automated thawing and mixing solution that integrates with
ARUPís existing automated line and replaces manual
processes. Put into operation earlier this year, the automated
work cell has improved the standardization of specimen preparation,
directly contributing to a better quality test result.
INTELLIGENCE: Late & Latent
Executive War College
URINE TEST HELPS
IN EARLY DIAGNOSIS
OF KIDNEY DISEASE