3 Steps You Can Take to Retain Patients with POC Testing

3 Steps You Can Take to Retain Patients with POC Testing

The days of the “build it and they will come” hospital model of thinking is over. Patients want convenience. They want to get in, get out, and get on with their day. That’s why non-traditional commercial labs, like Walgreens, are providing a service that meets these exact needs: quick and easy point-of-care (POC) testing.

As patients continue to flock to consumer sites for POC testing, labs are left scrambling to catch up. But, how can your lab compete with consumer sites? And, what differentiated value can it provide to keep patients coming back for testing?

You have questions, LabLeaders has answers. Here are our top three steps your lab can take to retain more patients with POC testing.

Article highlights:

  • Non-traditional commercial labs, like Walgreens, are providing a new level of convenience for patients at the point of care
  • Labs need to differentiate themselves and deliver additional value beyond the capabilities of consumer POC testing
  • Broadening access and providing information to patients at the point of care can help keep patients coming back


Contributing Lab Leaders

James Nichols

James Nichols, Ph.D., DABCC, FACB

Medical Director, Clinical Chemistry
Associate Medical Director, Clinical Operations
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Diane L. Kremitske

Diane Kremitske, MHA, MS, MT (ASCP)

Vice President of Operations
Seattle Children’s Hospital
Geisinger Medical Laboratories

Paula J. Santrach

Paula J. Santrach M.D.

Associate Dean, Value Creation
Chair, Mayo Clinic Quality Care Subcommittee
Chair, Rochester Clinical Practice Oversight Subcommittee, Mayo Clinic

Duane Fitch

Duane Fitch, CPA, MBA, FACHE

Plante Moran


Steve Zibrat

Steven Zibrat, MS, MT (ASCP)

Manager of Laboratories Quality
University of Chicago Medical Center


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STEP 1: Provide personalized service

To retain more patients, you need to set your lab services apart from what consumer POC test sites are offering. This means going beyond analyzing samples and sending a value to a physician to interpret. You need to provide a more personalized service.

Start by stepping outside of the lab and becoming a part of the care team. Interact with physicians, nurses and other staff. Show them how the extra level of value you provide can elevate their roles in the process. And, as your value continues to grow, so too will the role you play in the entire continuum of care.

Discover how to forge trusted partnerships with colleagues outside the lab through this little-known tactic.


QUICK TIP: Partner with physicians for improved care

Teaming up with physicians will help:

  • Determine the right test for the right patient at the right time
  • Provide a complete historical context of test results
  • Interpret the results for better patient management



STEP 2: Support your care team by being flexible

As your lab moves into new territory, it’s important to stay flexible and supportive of changing needs. This can be anything from supporting various POC services to finding the right devices to optimizing care in different settings. Regardless of the need, retaining more patients will require your lab’s capabilities to span across multiple care settings.

Seek inspiration from your peers

Looking for innovative ways on how to stay flexible? Look to lab leaders from around the country—there’s no shortage of inspiration.

Here are some examples of out-of-the-box ideas being implemented by some hospitals in New York City:

  • Nurse practitioners deliver in-home POC tests, eliminating the need for patients to come to their facility or to a non-traditional commercial lab
  • They are equipped with antibiotics that can be prescribed on the spot for faster care
  • Local hotels provide a concierge service that contacts your facility to send a staff member out when out-of-town patients need urgent testing

STEP 3: Create a seamless patient experience

Stepping outside the lab and playing a larger role in patient care is a great start. But, to retain more patients, you need to create a seamless, fully integrated experience.

This doesn’t just apply to the experience of getting a lab test. Think about an episode of care from a patient’s perspective. Think about what comes before the test and what follows.

Commercial labs may provide convenience, but they’re ultimately part of a fragmented care process. They are not integrated with a full range of care delivery settings. They don’t have the power to provide health care services beyond the test.

But you do.

Don’t hold back. Identify opportunities to connect the experience and streamline the overall care process. This doesn’t just provide value. It is your ultimate value proposition to a patient.

Here are some examples to get you started:


Your Lab

Non-traditional commercial labs

Provide historical context of test results


Ensure standardized test results


Interprest key values


Indentify pre-existing conditions based on previous lab tests


Make test resuls immediately and widely accessible across care settings


Connect patients with immediate care



Get out of the lab—get ahead of consumerism

There’s no doubt commercial labs provide a unique level of convenience for patients. While it may seem like they own POC testing, there’s plenty of opportunity for your institution to take back control—and you can play a pivotal role. By providing personalized services, remaining flexible for your care team, and creating a seamless experience, you can help retain more patients and set your institution up for long-term success.

Reference: 1. Futrell K. Laboratory Point-of-Care Testing: A Future Outlook. Orchard Software. 2015; 1-24.

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