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Clin Chim Acta. 2014 Jan 1;427:202-4. doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2013.09.034. Epub 2013 Sep 29.

An alternative perspective on how laboratory medicine can contribute to solve the health care crisis: a model to save costs by acquiring excellence in diagnostic systems.

Author information

1
Department of Laboratory Medicine, IRCCS AOU San Martino - IST, University-Hospital, Genoa, Italy; National Institute for Cancer Research, Genoa, Italy. Electronic address: michele.mussap@hsanmartino.it.

Abstract

The rapid escalation in health care costs has led to the idea to deliver better care at lower costs, reshaping the responsibilities of the health care system to achieve the goal of creating value for the patient. The pressure for fiscal containment and the progressive reduction in available health care resources originated very short term strategies consisting of abrupt reductions in expenditure, specifically in the provision of clinical pathology laboratory medicine services. However, the impact of laboratory test results on diagnostic and therapeutic interventions has increased enormously in the past decade, due to advances in personalized medicine and to the strictly correlated requirement to use new biomarkers with increasing sensitivity and specificity in clinical practice. In order to create savings by delivering better care there is the need to invest financial resources in purchasing high technology and new sophisticated tests and to promote the expertise of clinical pathologists and laboratory medicine professionals. This approach to creating value in patient health care is more productive and sustainable ethically, morally and economically as a long-term strategy. It can be successfully achieved by applying defined rules that make public-private cooperation clearer, skipping incompatible solutions such as transforming clinical laboratories to 'industrially productive premises', outsourcing laboratory medicine services and using central acquisition of diagnostic systems.

KEYWORDS:

Decision making; Diagnostic industry; Health care cost-containment; Laboratory medicine; Managed care

PMID:
24080433
DOI:
10.1016/j.cca.2013.09.034
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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