PROVIDE COMPREHENSIVE PHYSICIAN OFFICE LABORATORY SERVICES
Expanding a physician office to include an in-house laboratory can serve more patient needs. A physician office lab (POL) can provide many services similar to a hospital, such as testing for diabetes, lupus, infections or Lyme disease. A POL can, if properly equipped, provide a comprehensive range of tests in a doctor’s office setting for immediate results.
An in-house lab enables:
- A doctor to perform a test, deliver a quick diagnosis and provide patient treatment.
- Early detection of health risks, which decreases hospitalizations, reduces healthcare costs and improves outcomes.
- Faster results than using an outside lab.
- A reduced chance of a sample being lost or damaged.
Lab services and point-of-care testing are critical parts of healthcare. The compact size of many lab instruments has made a POL easier than ever for even small offices to implement. The testing has shifted from equipment-based, which required machines that needed regular calibration and skilled users, to product testing that requires only a small amount of office space.
Even with an in-house lab, some tests will still need to be outsourced. Doctor offices can work with—and even brand with—an outside lab. For example, some physician offices work with a reference lab. In this case, a sample is taken and billing is handled by the physician clinic, which pays the outside organization a contracted fee for the test. The patient or insurance company is billed according to the doctor office’s pricing structure.
Startup costs are about $50,000 for a single practice, with potential revenue up to $400,000 per year, according to Concordis Practice Management, a medical management firm.