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     Jon Harol

    Solving Lab Challenges through Recruiting Innovation: HPI connects with Lighthouse Lab Services President, Jon Harol

    Global Impact: Rebecca Rock, RN and SABM CFO talks with HPI about two roles across two countries

    From Lab Trend Visionary to Dark Group CEO: HPI connects with the Founder and Editor of the Dark Report, Robert Michel

    Two Imaging Leaders, Two Systems, One Outcome: Communication

    From Communication Strength to Just in Time Reopening at MGH A conversation with Dr. James Brink, Chief of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital

    From Time Magazine to PBM Influencer: Sherri Ozawa's Mission to Define the Value of Blood

    Buried Blessings: Pandemic perspective from Tom Strauss, CEO at Sisters of Charity Health System

    Katie Castree, Career Healthcare Process Improvement Connoisseur

    Solving Lab Challenges through Recruiting Innovation: HPI connects with Lighthouse Lab Services President, Jon Harol

    Providing Value-Based Care in a Pandemic through Telehealth and Data Resources: An HPI exclusive with Dr. Darrel Weaver

    From Supply Chain Crisis to Innovation in a Pandemic

    From Navy Medic to running a Clinical Laboratory . . . during a pandemic

    Planning for Blood Shortages in a Pandemic with Dr. Claudia Cohn

    Blood Banking is more complex today than ever before. Rob Van Tuyle, President of Vitalant's Blood Division, tells us why.

    Profoundly Impacting Healthcare with Breakthrough Anemia Management

    Supporting Imaging Precisely Where You Need It

    Working Together Makes End of Life Conversations Easier to Have

    The Future of Imaging: Assessing the early impacts of COVID-19 and the path to innovation through Artificial Intelligence (AI) A conversation with Dr. Geoff Rubin

    Pivoting in a Pandemic: How a U.S. 3D printing manufacturer is helping healthcare in its time of need

    Mara G. Aspinall: Diagnostic evangelist educating the world on the power of diagnostics today

    How The Joint Commission is addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic

    CHI Nebraska’s Laboratory Director Connie Wilkins, describes How To Manage a Clinical Laboratory During the pandemic

    Former Commercial Lab Leader Highlights the Hospital Lab as the Solution to Community Sustainability in a Healthcare Crisis

    Three Phases Essential to Crisis Preparedness in Patient Blood Management with Anne Burkey of St. Luke's Health in Boise, ID

    The Importance of Agility in Your Lab

    Dr. Paul Biddinger Shares Three Ways to Prepare for COVID-19

    Bringing Clinical Skills to Operational Leadership During a Time of Crisis; Dr. Blanton, Chief Medical Officer at Peterson Health

    7 Team Attributes to Teams that Work in Challenging Times & Through Rapid Innovation

    From Finding Problems to Saving Lives: The Evolution of Interventional Radiology

    Identifying the Potential with AI in Radiology with Dr. Chung

    Communication in the C-Suite with Cliff Robertson of Catholic Health Initiatives

    Reviewing Your Patient Financial Journey with Melody W. Mulaik, President of Revenue Cycle Coding Strategies

    Ask An Accumen Expert: Carolyn Burns, MD, a Patient Blood Management Advocate

    Linda DeVee, Leads Radiology Services at Edward-Elmhurst Health

    Theresa Mouton, Market Chief Financial Officer with Steward Health

    PELITAS President and CEO Steven Huddleston Wants Patients to Have a Great Experience – Both Clinically and Financially

    How Do You Deal with 2 Billion Forms a Year? Ask Randy Campbell

    Medical Director of Telehealth for UAB Knocks Barriers Down to Treat Patients on Their Terms

    C-Suite Spotlight: Wayne Bohenek Chief Ancillary Services Officer, Bon Secours Mercy Health

    A Leader in the Laboratory Service Line : Pierre Mouawad

    Healthcare Partner: Autumn Farmer, Chief Laboratory Officer, Bon Secours Mercy Health

    How Imbio is using AI to close the gap of missed diagnosis with Mike Hostetler

    Spit Matters with Bill Phillips from Spectrum Solutions

    How COVID-19 inspired TeraRecon to accelerate their imaging solutions to the point of care with Jeff Sorensen

    Jon Harol launched Lighthouse in 2003 as a recruiting company. He had just completed his military service following a tour in Iraq at the same time his dad was exiting his career as a military recruiter. At first, their company was recruiting for just just about everything – engineers, plumbers, anything you could think of. In his quest to always be on the forefront of opportunity, one day Jon found himself reviewing a Department of Labor forecast highlighting a 30% vacancy rate of medical scientists in 2018. It all started there, as he began to formulate a plan for how Lighthouse could get ahead of the shortage with a database of scientists. He built an Excel spreadsheet of every scientist he could find and started emailing them. Over time, these emails grew to 170,000 people in the database. Today Lighthouse runs the largest groups of medical lab scientists in the world on LinkedIn (130,000+ scientists) and Facebook with over 37,000 in the group and nearly 100 requests coming in daily to join.

    Three Key Lab Market Challenges
    As Lighthouse expanded its reach, Jon continued to review opportunities to meet market needs, identifying three that he literally built his business around.

    Challenge 1: Smaller labs can’t compete.
    High complexity labs require an MD or board-certified PhD for oversight, a significantly burdensome cost to a small operation. Jon had an expanding network of lab directors at his fingertips – why not spread them over multiple labs, also sharing their salary? (By law, a lab director can oversee up to five labs unless there’s a state requirement noting otherwise). Lighthouse quickly established a subgroup of lab directors interested in overseeing multiple labs, allowing them the ability to provide a medical lab director to a lab for $25,000 a year instead of $200,000 a year. Jon reflects on the milestone: That was a really important point in the company’s history, enabling us to get involved at a strategic level with customers. We went from just staffing to getting into the oversight and management of labs. Today our lab directors direct 165 high complexity labs around the country.

     

    Challenge 2: Reimbursement. Period.
    Every year the clinical laboratory fee schedule changes – it’s not a free market where the lowest price wins or the competition sets the price. In the lab space, the federal government sets the rates which often sends ripples across the industry as labs try to figure out which tests to add or remove based on reimbursement. This challenge remains a work in progress according to Jon, recently including the addition of PAMA to the mix of confusion and issues.

    When he looks in the mirror, Jon sees himself as an advocate for the lab industry – specifically for the lack of compensation and recognition the lab receives for the important role they play. He cites the 75% of medical decisions that are made based on laboratory data while only 2.6% of our healthcare spend is on the laboratory. I’ve historically had concerns about the way laboratory testing has been reimbursed – it really feels corrupt to me the way it’s all structured, where you have insurance companies that are determining what laboratory tests are going to be reimbursed, regardless of whether a physician is ordering it or not. They’re kind of messing with the game, where they’re only allowing certain labs, maybe the big ones to get in-network. The effect of that is a poor quality or turnaround time for the individuals that are ordering those tests. The savings happen for the insurance company, but the person who bears the brunt is the patient. Either they don’t have easy access to testing, experience a really long turnaround time, or have a test denied altogether. I think that laboratory testing should be made more available. If a physician thinks you need a laboratory test, I don’t think insurance should be rejecting those. Decisions that are made on how laboratory tests are reimbursed right now are very much profit driven on the insurance company side and not in the best interest of the patient. I’d love to see that change. I hope that the trajectory changes and we start to see those decisions driven by medical needs – not by profit.

     

    Challenge 3: The untapped value in hospital labs.
    While a seemingly altruistic element of healthcare, hospitals are a business. However, they don’t necessarily operate like one. The labs have to be open 24/7 and offer a broad line of testing – which is not something you would do if you were making your decisions based solely on profitability. Hospital labs do all of the hardest testing, including driving out to nursing homes to draw, spin, and drive back to the hospital to result out within hours – often times with unstable samples. The hospital works so hard to run low margin, highly commoditized testing. They run it all to best serve the community.

    Conversely, the independent lab decides which tests they want to run, often times based on reimbursement. A lot of the independent labs are not able to get in-network, and have trouble getting paid. They typically get reimbursed on about 65% of the tests that they’re running. The other 35% they run at a loss to keep the complete book of business and take advantage of the high margin tests that pay 50-100 times more. Jon shares his vision for leveling the playing field. I still think there is a play to be had for having hospitals with in-network status service their local community and act as more of a reference lab, with some outreach capability to the groups in their area, and use the revenue that comes from that to offset other costs. I think hospitals are shy about getting into the outreach game because there were some bad actors in that space that bought small rural hospitals and put a ton of volume through them – but the opportunity is still sitting there.

    Mobilizing to help fight COVID-19
    There are very few conversations, especially those involving healthcare or lab testing, where COVID isn’t a part of the conversation. As our conversation with Jon naturally followed suit, he shared memories of early whiteboarding sessions that were focused on where Lighthouse could support front-line workers and be part of the testing solution. Fast-forward to today, Lighthouse has validated a COVID-19 LDT including FDA application in 14 labs and just finished building what will be the largest throughput COVID testing lab in the country, processing up to 200,000 samples a day using heavy robotics. (The lab was granted it’s EUA from the FDA on Monday, August 17. The location and entrepreneurial partner have yet to be announced.)

    As we wrap up our time with Jon, he leans again on his glass-half-full view of the world, focusing on the opportunity the current crisis has provided the lab.

    The lab has been elevated (because of the pandemic); the role that medical lab scientists play, and how crucial it is, has become something that everybody in America is aware of right now. I really hope that’s drawn attention to the important work that’s done in clinical labs. We shouldn’t be in a position (as a country) that if a pandemic hit, we’re not able to provide the testing that’s needed for our citizens. Let’s get to a place where our labs are built out and funded in a way that we are able to respond to emergencies and pandemics.

     

    Call to action noted. Challenge accepted.

     
     Jon Harol

    Jon Harol

    President, Lighthouse Lab Services