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Patient Service Centers: Patient Service Centers must be established in convenient locations so that specimens can be collected in a timely fashion. Since this is the hospitalís "face" to the community, PSCs must be clean, neat, inviting, and well planned so that they create a positive impression on the patients that come to have their specimens collected. Additionally the PSCs must be adequately and professionally staffed so that hours of operation and wait times mesh with patient needs. As the outreach program grows, continual changes will need to be made relative to the Patient Service Centers.
Managed Care Products: The outreach program will need to negotiate with the various managed care plans in the area so that a vast majority of these plans can be accepted. By surveying physicians it will become apparent which plans are important in the hospitals catchment area. Generally speaking payers have come to appreciate the value of hospital outreach testing and are willing to add your hospital outreach program to their list of acceptable laboratories. In some cases they may be willing to compensate hospital laboratories slightly more than they compensate commercial laboratories.
Business Plan Development: It is important that a good understanding of the market within the catchment area is achieved and that there is a plan to attack and gain market share. A hospital outreach program has a competitive advantage within its catchment area when competing with commercial laboratories, assuming that it can deliver services on a relatively level playing field for such items as result reporting and delivery, connectivity, insurance matrix, courier pickups, customer service, billing, etc. A good plan will take these items into consideration and build gradually so that the program can grow and be profitable from inception.