The nation’s health care system—and with it, clinical laboratories—has entered a period of transformative change. New health care delivery and cost savings models such as The Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are proliferating, with more than 5,200 certified PCMHs as of January 2013 and 250 ACOs established since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Both of these models are designed to improve efficiency and contain healthcare costs while improving patient care.
To assist laboratories in defining their proper role in ACOs and the PCMH, COLA, a leading laboratory accreditor, has established its own Patient Centered Laboratory Excellence (PCLE) and resultant PCLE recognition program. The goal of the program is to assist Patient-Centered Medical Home practices in delivering quality and value-driven laboratory medicine to their patients. The program emphasizes continuous good laboratory practices above and beyond current regulatory requirements for moderate and high complexity labs.
The PCLE program also is available to those practices performing waived testing, where studies continue to demonstrate significant problems with the quality of lab results, and in the level of education and engagement of employees performing such tests.
Another COLA tool, PCLE Excellerator, can help labs assess their operations to determine if they are operating in accordance with PCMH and ACO guidelines. The new online program enables both waived and nonwaived laboratories to “biopsy” their operations to determine any areas that may need improvement. It also provides a wide range of educational resources that can help laboratories instill a culture of excellence in their delivery of lab medicine, including:
• Emerging PCMH standards for laboratories, such as the importance of accurate lab testing as data is increasingly shared via electronic medical records
• Case studies illustrating how labs averted potential problems by improving quality standards
• An online library, including links to CMS educational resources and a variety of online COLA courses and products designed to promote quality practices
Through tools like the PCLE recognition program and PCLE Excellerator, COLA is helping to frame the laboratory’s proper role in emerging healthcare delivery models and ensure that laboratories are not left behind once these new healthcare models are fully implemented. Practitioners using the services of a COLA PCLE-recognized laboratory can be assured of high quality results, generated by well-trained staff that uses state-of-the-art communications to deliver enhanced access to results for patients and providers.
COLA accredits nearly 8,000 medical laboratories and provides a program of education, consultation, and accreditation.The organization is an independent, non-profit accreditor whose education program and standards enable clinical laboratories and staff to meet U.S. CLIA and other regulatory requirements.COLA’s program is endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Practitioners, the American College of Physicians, and is recognized by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.Stop by the COLA booth (#2317) at the 2013 Clinical Lab Expo for more information about COLA’s PCLE programs, accreditation services and educational products or visit www.cola.org