Reference Labs

December 2021 - Vol.10 No. 11 - Page #6
Category: Laboratory Outreach

Practically all clinical labs rely on outsourced reference laboratories for some testing services. As such, management must continue to seek out an efficient balance between in-house processes and technology, and those of outsourced service providers. Throughout the pandemic, many facilities have been able to adopt advanced technologies and expand their own testing capabilities, yet others lack the financial or personnel resources necessary to render advanced automation and instrumentation systems viable for in-house operations. Thus, reference laboratory services are expected to continue to be widely utilized by clinical laboratories of all types and sizes.

Utilization of reference laboratory services in the range of 10% to 30% of total testing workloads remains the norm, and whether they are providing relief for spikes in high-volume testing or offering esoteric instrumentation and expertise, reference labs will remain a vital resource for diagnostic testing moving forward. 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.


With 96% of all laboratories outsourcing at least some of their testing to a reference lab, reliance on these services is expected to continue for facilities of all sizes.


Reference lab testing continues to be integral to laboratory operations, with most facilities outsourcing 10% to 30% of their testing.


With 84% giving high marks to their reference labs, these services are well regarded inasmuch as they are widely utilized.


Over half (56%) of facilities expect reference lab utilization to remain the same next year, whereas just shy of 3 out of 10 plan to increase outsourced testing volumes.


Constancy to a chosen reference lab has proven steady for several years, yet there remains room for change in this practically requisite relationship.

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