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A yearly tradition at the AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, the Healthcare Forum typically highlights regulatory and payment issues, but this year, AACC is broadening its focus to address the role and place of clinical laboratories and clinical lab professionals in new and emerging value-based healthcare models.

Organizers of this scientific session, Healthcare Forum: Laboratory Stewardship in Healthcare Innovation (34225) wanted to address the role of clinical labs in ensuring high-quality care at lower overall costs, looking at how labs and lab medicine experts could, in the face of higher upfront lab costs, improve patient outcomes, and drive down costs to the system long term. Such efforts convey to the healthcare community at large that laboratories can be partners in value-based care.

Three speakers plan to address the shift from volume-based, fee-for-service models toward value-based models with bundled or capitated payments in healthcare delivery and payments. Shantanu Agrawal, MD, MPhil, president and CEO of the National Quality Forum (NQF), will start off the session with a talk on the changes taking place in healthcare and what they mean for patients. Using his vast experience in public health and clinical practice and his perspective as NQF’s CEO, Agrawal will address NQF’s role in advancing value-based care and how this model will improve the patient experience and patient outcomes.

Jonathan Gleason, MD, chief of urogynecology at Carilion Clinic, will follow up, discussing what integrated healthcare systems need from laboratory stewardship programs. Gleason has worked with laboratories at large medical systems and has seen how labs contribute to quality care. He will share some experiences and perhaps some new ideas about how labs can improve the patient experience and act as change agents within integrated health systems.

A national leader in the movement toward lab stewardship, Jane Dickerson, PhD, co-director of clinical chemistry at Seattle Children's Hospital, will round out the session with a discussion on the Pediatric Laboratory Utilization Guidance Services (PLUGS) program. Dickerson has played a pivotal role in several demonstration projects that showed how a lab and an expert lab director could improve the efficiency of hospitals while ensuring quality patient care. Dickerson plans to highlight the work of PLUGs, to underscore the need for full implementation of lab stewardship programs.

Takeaways for attendees include:

  • Learning more about laboratory stewardship and how it fits into overall improvements in patient care and the bottom line;
  • Making concrete connections between the work labs do every day and what healthcare systems need from them in value-based care models; and
  • Learning about tools at their disposal to implement lab stewardship in their institutions and to discuss these programs with their hospital leadership teams.

The healthcare forum at the 71st AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Anaheim, California, will take place August 7 from 2:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. and is worth 2.5 ACCENT credit hours. Laboratory directors, laboratory managers, medical technologists, and other laboratory and industry personnel responsible for regulatory, payment, and compliance issues are particularly encouraged to attend this session and learn new tools for implementing successful laboratory stewardship programs.