UCSF STANFORD: Laboratories Consolidate Tests
"UCSF Stanford Health Care is turning its money-guzzling laboratories into local profit centers at its four hospitals" by consolidating "the 5 million lab tests they conduct each year to make the entire system more efficient and reduce the number of tests they send out." The San Francisco Business Times reports that in the five months since UCSF and Stanford merged, the system has saved $1.5 million in lab costs. UCSF "has also increased the number of tests it performs in-house by 17% and has begun hiring out its own labs to conduct tests for Kaiser Permanente and county hospitals in Santa Clara and San Mateo, in hopes of creating a profitable tool to better support the medical centers' research." Susie Lu, who UCSF Stanford hired to combine the six clinical laboratories at UCSF's Moffett and Mt. Zion centers with those at Stanford Hospital, Packard Children's Hospital and Stanford's microbiology and transfusion services, said, "In order to succeed in the future, we need to create a niche -- a specific distinguishing quality that we have. The kind of expertise we bring to the laboratory field is one that most labs don't have the volume to develop." UCSF Stanford is "letting each center focus on its strengths," but also working to unite the centers with a common operating system. Lu "said that some parts of the UCSF Stanford process are nearly completed -- notably the billing system -- and the foundation should be fully laid for an integrated system by next June." The Business Times reports that UCSF Stanford "also expects to hire a laboratory computer systems director within the month, and is now surveying doctors and the affiliated hospitals to determine where the system can improve customer service" (Bole, 11/16 issue).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.