Reference Laboratories

State of Laboratory Technology 2019 - Vol. 8 No. 10 - Page #28

Reference laboratory services are widely utilized by clinical laboratories of all types and sizes. Due to the auxiliary nature of these services, quality and reliability are key performance indicators in an increasingly competitive field. It bodes well that most facilities report strong satisfaction with their reference lab service providers and loyalty remains solid.

Utilization of reference laboratory services is strongest among those facilities outsourcing 10%-30% of total testing workloads. Whether providing relief for high-volume testing or offering esoteric instrumentation and expertise, reference labs remain a vital resource for medical diagnostic testing. Although many facilities have been able to adopt technologies such as flow cytometry, next-generation molecular pathology platforms, and florescence in situ hybridization (FISH), among others, many more facilities do not have the financial or personnel resources, let alone the test volume, necessary to make such advanced automation systems viable for in-house operations.

Given that nearly all clinical laboratories rely on reference laboratories for some testing services, effort must continue in creating efficiencies between in-house processes and technology, and those of outsourced service providers.

Outsourcing to reference laboratories is a ubiquitous practice among hospital laboratories, regardless of facility size. This year, 97% of all facilities outsourced at least some of their testing to a reference lab.

The bulk of facilities that utilize reference labs outsource between 10% and 30% of their testing.




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