When Should You Consider including Lab Services in Your Practice?

In a Family Practice Management Journal article a few years back, Dr. Christine A. Sinsky wrote of ways for medical practices to work smarter rather than working harder – most healthcare professionals work hard enough as it is. Her first suggestion out of the 12 she made was having pre-appointment labs set up, so results are there during the visit. This would give the doctor the opportunity to provide better care and focus on any concerns with the patient sooner.

In-house labs can be convenient for the patient, help your staff provide better care and can be profitable as you receive reimbursements. However, many practices hesitate to set up one because they think the regulations are too difficult, they will need to hire more staff, and get the right equipment. Let’s address each of those concerns in turn:

  • Regulations: While it is correct that an in-house lab needs to adhere to the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, these regulations are in no way impossible to meet. And if you are concerned about meeting all of them, you can hire a CLIA consultant to help you get started.
  • Staff: Yes, you do need someone who knows how to run a lab, but you may be able to cross-train a nurse or other personnel you already have on how to run it, and most simple labs can often be run by someone with a high school diploma and the proper training, so this doesn’t need to be a major expense on your practice.
  • Equipment: While it may feel daunting and expensive to find the right equipment, you can use the steep competition between equipment vendors to your advantage. Vendors will be happy to let you know which are the most commonly bought equipment in a starting lab, and you can often find great deals on medical practice supplies. In addition, you can always buy used from a trusted vendor. They will offer you equipment in good condition.

For more information on the medical equipment you’ll need for your lab and practice in general, please contact us today!