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Revenue and lab enhancement opportunities.

Revenue and lab enhancement opportunities

Cost containment and revenue enhancement are the primary means laboratories have for surviving under prospective payment. Whether you are in a hospital or independent laboratory, your administrative responsibilities will include finding innovative ways to manage costs and generate addditional income. Developing unusual ways to increase volume, reduce cost per test, optimize productivity, and provide needed services requires creative and nontraditional approaches.

Numerous articles have addressed joint ventures, shared services, and patient outreach programs. These activities have focused on the more traditional diagnostic and therapeutic services offered by health care institutions and physicians' offices. Many such options have been pursued; now laboratories must look to new horizons. This requires an ability to take positive action based on likely future trends; a willingness to assume risks; and the management skills necessary to plan, sell, and implement new programs.

Planning is the first step in identifying viable programs and projects. It requires consideration of four areas: 1) basic mission or purpose of the organization; 2) values of the owners, managers, and employees; 3) organizational resources, strengths, and weaknesses; and 4) external and internal opportunities and influences.

That last planning area involves translating predictions into opportunities. Regularly reading hospital, business, medical, and science periodicals will lead to usable ideas and help prepare you for change. For example, careful reading should have braced labs for the recent Blue Cross/Blue Shield test-use guidelines. Plans would then be in place to adjust to possible lower test volume.

Weekly scanning of periodicals will keep you current on advances in robotics, bedside testing and technology, at-home testing, and procedures under development. You can also learn what new programs or strategies hospitals are planning and take the initiative in developing laboratory protocols to enhance those plans.

After gathering the necessary data, you can begin strategic, tactical, operational, and organizational planning. Be bold in setting goals and strategies to achieve them, but be realistic about determining the most efficient use of your resources. Discard "tried and true' methods for operations and organization if they hamper growth and efficiency.

At this point you have done your homework, drafted your plans, and are ready to sell your product. The product may be innovative ideas for reorganization, revenue enhancement recommendations, or overall cost management approaches. You may have heard, for example, that the hospital is planning a women's health center and a sports medicine program. You will want administration to see how that relates to the laboratory, so you design a lab protocol that will help sell the entire program to the community.

Or you may have designed a physicians' office consultation program to enhance referrals from your medical staff, as well as a new, comprehensive veterinarian service. Your sales approach to administration should include revenue and cost projections.

Perhaps, recognizing your role as a member of hospital management, you have tentatively resized the lab's organizational chart. You seek consolidation of management functions and more flexibility in employee use.

To sell all these projects, you must be aware of management's impression of your administrative knowledge and skills. Lab managers are often criticized by administrators for inability to see the big picture, or to expand their focus to include the entire institution. Though technically competent, many lack business skills.

This evaluation must be corrected. It will take varying degrees of effort among lab managers due to individual levels of management skills, but all must strive for improvement. If not, more nonlaboratorian business managers will be making administrative decisions in the lab.

Complacency and blind adherence to tradition are hindrances. If you want to stay on top, start your personal and professional development program now.
COPYRIGHT 1987 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:cost containment, revenue enhancement; survival under prospective payment
Author:Barros, Annamarie
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Date:Aug 1, 1987
Previous Article:Developing a positive blood culture database.
Next Article:Congress hears complaints about hospitals' outreach lab testing.

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