Along with providing services to patients and health system physicians, Northwell Health Labs works with organizations outside of the Northwell Health to optimize their laboratory services and workflow. Services provided include:
Laboratories face unprecedented pressure to decrease costs and increase value while maintaining quality. Northwell Health Labs offers various lab management services for outside laboratories that are looking to improve processes. The experts at Northwell Health Labs can help with:
- Cost containment and efficiency – Including identifying workflow issues and benchmarking against other laboratories of similar size.
- Quality – Northwell Health Labs has team members who specialize in quality management and can provide tailored solutions to improve laboratory quality.
- Outreach development – Consulting services for laboratories that are looking to turn their operations from a cost center into a revenue center.
- Regulatory oversight – Due to the team’s experience with regulatory inspections, they are especially qualified to assist laboratories with evaluating and correcting regulatory issues to avoid penalties and closures.
- Information technology – Northwell Health Labs has a large IT department that can help other labs provide and optimize their IT solutions, including enhanced operational and business reporting, quality reports, interfaces, regulatory compliance and IT workflows.
Northwell Health Labs does not treat any solution as one-size-fits-all. Once engaged with an outside laboratory, the team reviews current operations and meets with multiple members of the laboratory team to get to know the operations, individual wants and needs. The Northwell Health team analyzes data from the laboratory (volumes, staffing, total expenditures, etc.) and provides tailored recommendations based on their knowledge, experience and objective benchmarking data. Based on the needs of the outside laboratory and type of project, engagements can be one-off or ongoing.
Northwell Health Labs provides reference testing services (testing that a lab does not perform under its own roof) to outside organizations. As part of Northwell Health, the laboratories team understands the unique needs and demands of hospitals and how best to serve them as a laboratory. The team has a full program that they implement upon beginning a reference testing relationship, which involves use of both lab and IT staff to coordinate testing and technology for optimal results. This coordination helps create a partnership which provides greater transparency and communication than a traditional vendor/customer relationship.
Communication is critical to the Northwell Health team. Instead of simply providing monthly utilization reports to inform customers of the tests they have purchased from the laboratory, the team delves into the data in these reports to provide useful information to help reduce utilization and choose the right tests for the right patients at the right time.
To continually measure quality, Northwell Health Labs uses software that allows them to work collaboratively with the client to log issues and monitor progress. This reporting tool is used to log and monitor any complaints or concerns from the outside laboratory. Instead of calling a large company to log a complaint and waiting to hear back on progress and resolution, customers can log in and see who is assigned to remedy their problem and its progress. The system is actively monitored and worked by the Northwell Health staff with the goal of providing transparency in operations and quality.
Northwell Health Labs provide phlebotomy services to nursing homes in Queens, Manhattan, Nassau County and Suffolk County. In order to maintain the quality of specimens, the laboratories team:
- Operates 365 days a year, ensuring that testing is performed shortly after the specimen is drawn
- Provides training to on-site staff on collection methods and best practices
- Maintains a schedule of sample pick up times based on blood draw times at each location
- Provides a second daily pick up if needed
- Sends phlebotomists to the location to draw blood when needed, including ensuring there is a centrifuge in the nursing home to maintain the quality of the specimen on site
As a result, the team can provide a six hour time frame from sample pick up to reporting.
Northwell Health Labs also offers electronic medical record (EMR) interfacing to nursing homes. When utilized, the nursing home can place testing orders directly into the system and receive the results electronically within the same system.
As part of Northwell Health, the labs' IT system connects to each facility within the health system. As a result, physicians of nursing home residents who are hospitalized in a Northwell Health facility have access to all previous test results for the patient, helping to provide a better view of the patient’s medical history to plan future care.
From a single physician’s office to large hospitals, Northwell Health Labs offers electronic medical record (EMR) interfacing. Based on the Client’s EMR, the labs team offers EMR options based on the needs of each office, including:
- Implementation of a web-based application (Core Connect) where the customer can order specimens and receive results. This is for cases where an organization does not have an existing EMR system.
- For organizations with an EMR in place, the labs team engages the EMR vendor to interface between Northwell Health and the customer’s EMR. As part of this engagement, the laboratories team ensures that the two systems are using the same logic when ordering tests to provide efficient, seamless test ordering and receipt of test results for the organization.
When using EMR interfacing, by the time the specimen arrives at the lab, all of the information regarding the tests requested by the physician will be in our laboratory environment. Once the test is completed, results are entered back into the system to be received by the physician. This electronic process not only increases speed and efficiency for both parties, but also decreases the chance of manual error.
As part of Northwell Health, Northwell Health Labs has built a successful core laboratory that serves the largest health system in New York state. Northwell Health Labs understands the changing healthcare environment and how hospitals are adjusting. They understand hospitals because they are part of a 18-hospital health system. Northwell Health Labs functions as a high volume reference lab with a patient-centered focus.
Northwell Health Labs is a founding member of The Compass Group, an organization of not-for-profit health system laboratories that exchange benchmarking and best practices. The team has access to a wealth of knowledge and experience to call upon when assisting outside laboratories and organizations.
In March 2014, Northwell Health Labs and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) formed a non-profit cooperative for laboratories. The goal of this cooperative is to save money for health systems and hospitals on their laboratory costs while promoting higher quality across the industry.
Laboratory services are an ideal area for health systems to combine efforts. If a group of laboratories are working with the right types of information and logistics systems that speak to one another seamlessly, then the movement of blood and tissue samples and their testing can occur in alternate locations without impacting patient care or service. Northwell Health learned this when it formed North Shore-LIJ Laboratories in 1998 as a centralized lab to perform tests from each hospital.
This idea of centralized laboratory services is at the heart of the cooperative. As the first two members, Northwell Health and HHC are working together to optimize their testing and workflow and identify areas of cost savings by Northwell Health Labs performing some testing that HHC was previously sending out to outside labs. HHC saves money (more than $20 million a year) by sending tests to Northwell Health Labs as their partner instead of an outside vendor and Northwell Health Labs benefits because as testing volume increases, per tests costs decrease. The two organizations have also identified tests that were sent out before due to low volume that can now be done cost-effectively in house due to the higher test volume.
As membership in the cooperative grows, members have the opportunity to benefit from enhanced lab revenues, reduced cost for individual tests and the financial benefits gained through group purchasing of lab equipment, information technology, reagents and reference tests or blood products. The cooperative will become the establishment of a new national laboratory model that will enable health systems to have control and ownership of their labs, while gaining the cost and service advantages of a very large national lab.
Northwell Health Labs and HHC invite health systems to become a part of the laboratory cooperative. To learn more, call (800) 472-5757.