Healthcare Technology Featured Article

April 17, 2023

What Does It Take to Reduce Operational Costs at a Pathology Lab?

Running a pathology lab in the United States or any other part of the world can be expensive. The costs accumulate from a plethora of different factors.

For starters, you have to pay for the space you rent for your lab. If you’re leasing a commercial space with many others, you have to pay monthly service charge bills alongside your rent. Then comes the need to pay your lab’s utility bills, which include water, electricity, gas, etc.

After that, you have to pay salaries to employees. You might even have to pay yearly license renewal fees. You often have to buy new equipment for your lab, install new controlled environments, hire new lab assistants and employees, install powerful computers, and so on.

As you can tell, the operational costs of running a pathology lab don’t seem to decrease. When you sum up all these costs, you’ll find yourself spending millions on your lab every year. On average, a minimum of $1.2 million has to be spent on all this. Thus, it’s never a bad idea to work out ways to limit your spending, and that’s exactly what we’ll discuss in this article today.

Let’s take you through the steps to reduce your pathology lab’s operational costs.

Reduce the Turnover Rate of Your Lab Assistants

In the US, the average salary of a lab assistant is between $18 and $20 an hour. This means you have to spend a little over $3,000 a month, or a little over $36,000 a year, on each lab assistant. The average yearly income of a lab assistant in the US is around $42,000. For experienced or highly skilled assistants, you have to pay around $64,000 a year. These salaries don’t even include other benefits.

When you have to hire a new lab assistant, you not only have to pay them a salary but also need to invest in their training, which is where the extra costs come in. Enrolling them in various training programs can cost you upwards of $5,000 per trainee.

If you bring in a trainer from outside to train your lab assistants in-house, you’ll likely have to pay the trainer over $50 an hour. For a six-month training program, that means you have to spend over $36,000 on training alone.

Thus, do your best to reduce the turnover rate at your lab, especially that of your lab assistants. These individuals will always look for better opportunities elsewhere, so make sure you’re the one providing those opportunities so that they don’t end up leaving.

Invest in LIS Software for Improved Workplace Efficiency

Investing in a laboratory information system – LIS software – can help you reduce your lab’s operational costs in numerous ways. The software can eliminate the need for extra computer operators to manually handle case or test files and format reports.

A robust LIS can also help you customize your reports and release cases in seconds. It can also use pre-configured diagnostic codes and descriptions to minimize the workload on your lab assistants, meaning that they can work on more cases in a short period.

Besides, investing in LIS software also means your lab can switch to electronic reporting, making the whole process of sending lab reports to necessary personnel or authorities cheaper, faster, more efficient, and eco-friendly.

This advantage was experienced first-hand by the President and CEO of a US-based pathology laboratory and their employees when they turned to the NovoPath LIS for their lab’s electronic reporting. Such a feature is what the CEO referred to as “state-of-the-art” for pathology applications.

Consider Sharing Your Lab Space

Big cities in the US charge around $4,600 a month if you want to rent a lab space there. As for renting a thousand-square-foot floor, you have to spend well over $1,500 in smaller cities.

Thus, it makes sense to share your lab space. In that case, if two different labs operate in the same space while maintaining necessary precautions, you can save half of your rent. This makes a lot of sense for small pathology laboratories that only conduct small-scale tests.

There are also large commercial laboratories that rent out space as per your need. These commercial labs can cost upwards of $2,000 a month, depending on the floor space. You can also pay them extra to use their lab equipment and resources from time to time.

Rent Lab Equipment

Renting lab equipment makes sense for particular types of tests if you’re not looking to conduct those tests for the long term. That means you simply rent the equipment, conduct the tests, and, once done, return them. That way, you don’t have to invest a lot of money in purchasing that equipment.

However, if you need a piece of equipment for a long time, it makes more sense to buy it instead of renting.

That’s it for this post. Based on all this information, it’s evident that reducing the operational costs at a pathology lab is possible. As long as you have the mindset and the right strategies in place, ensuring this type of cost reduction for your facility should not be that difficult.

Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox. [Free eNews Subscription]


FREE eNewsletter

Click here to receive your targeted Healthcare Technology Community eNewsletter.
[Subscribe Now]