To prepare for rapid changes ahead in the healthcare industry, laboratories should adopt the concept of pharmacoeconomics from the pharmaceutical industry to create their own “labacoeconomics,” according to former Mayo Medical Laboratories executive R. Keith Laughman, who will discuss this important trend Aug. 26 during a free webinar sponsored by

Healthcare from a diagnostics perspective is undergoing a transformation similar to what it experienced in the 1960s, “when there was an explosion of scientific enhancements in technology and testing,” Laughman, a managing partner at CareTinuum Consulting Partners LLC and a principal at TRG Healthcare LLC, told CLN Stat.

With advancements currently taking place in genomics and molecular diagnostics, it’s more important than ever for labs and pathologists to collaborate with clinicians—not only to provide them with consultative support—but on a broader scale to redefine value in healthcare and promote integration across healthcare systems’ continuum of care. 

To capture this opportunity, discussions need to turn from the laboratory industry itself to patient care and laboratory medicine, he explains.

Pharmacoeconomics principles work to ensure that the right decisions are being made with respect to the use of medications—focusing not just on the cost of the drug, but also the cost of that drug relative to the patient’s outcome.

“Similarly, leveraging these concepts in labacoeconomics, the lab needs to be recognized and accountable for the value that it can generate within the context of the patient’s episode of care.  This shift in focus will confirm that the patient and the health system benefit greatly exceed the price of the test and the associated diagnostic process,” he indicated.

Shifting the focus from cost-per-test to value of lab services in patient care will require a joint effort on the part of both laboratory and pathology staff and health system leadership, Laughman suggested. “It will be important for the lab staff to help health system leadership understand the value that can be created and to be accountable for the required execution to achieve the estimated benefits.”

In his view, changing the lab’s role as part of the larger health care transformation will be essential for health systems to thrive in the future.

“It will be important to keep in mind the benefit that will result will reside outside of the lab. Done correctly, the lab’s budget will increase, its unit costs will go down, and healthcare delivery will become more efficient and effective,” he said.

Register online for “LabacoEconomics: The Lab’s Role as the Epicenter of Integration.”