Medline hosts 2023 roundtable for lab and supply chain leaders in healthcare

Medline hosts 2023 roundtable for lab and supply chain leaders in healthcare

By Medline Newsroom Staff | November 27, 2023

Supply Chain

Medline hosts 2023 roundtable for lab and supply chain leaders in healthcare

System leaders from seven states share insights, solutions

From staffing and operational alignment to emerging technologies, Medline’s recent 2023 Clinical Lab Roundtable covered a range of high-level topics around laboratory operations and capabilities.

With its rapidly growing presence in the U.S. lab market, Medline hosted the roundtable to provide lab and supply chain leaders from around the country a forum to discuss the current state, trends and best practices in the lab. Lab and supply chain leaders were invited to present market insights that prompted small-group conversations over the course of the two-day event.

Medline’s 2023 Clinical Lab Roundtable takeaways include:

Recruiting and staffing remain ‘job one’ 

Pointing to recent research from Laboratory Economics and other sources, the group concurred that staffing continues to be a challenge for labs.

Matt Charles, system vice president of pathology and laboratory medicine of NorthShore – Edward-Elmhurst Health, shared how the Illinois-based system is working on associating lab careers with the values of the largest workforce segment – millennials and younger employees – related to work/life balance, salary, career growth and work environment.

“Flexible shifts, flexible work locations, in-house traveling, on-the-job training and other benefits are all on the table,” said Charles.

Labs continue to develop creative partnerships with local colleges and universities, offering tuition support, clinical hours and other training and education opportunities to individuals earning lab technical degrees.


“Leadership needs to see labs as the ‘revenue’ centers that they are or can be — vs. ‘cost’ centers.”

Jane Hermansen

Past President
Clinical Laboratory Management Association

In order to foster promotion from within their organizations, labs are defining career paths more clearly and implementing more meaningful recognition programs for staff. To engage new or less experienced personnel, labs are developing more inclusive processes that encourage all levels within lab to share opinions about existing procedures and products.

Impact of standardization and automation on lab

Lab leaders are looking to standardization and automation technology – including AI — to improve workflow and increase job satisfaction in the lab.

“Standardization in a system is easy to talk about and very hard to do in the real world,” said Kristie Campbell, administrative laboratory director at Huntsville Hospital in Alabama.

Campbell stated how personalities, level of lab experience, history with lab processes and other factors influence how open lab teams are to new technologies.

“Many of the topics we discussed seem to roll up to how technology is improving lab efficiency, the work environment and ultimately outcomes. Labs need standardization that benefits the team, the organization, and the patient populations and communities that we serve,” said Campbell.

The group also discussed ways their organizations are looking for resources to help laboratorians with test processing and inventory tracking.

“We need to look at lab automation for efficiency – not to reduce FTEs – but to allow our people to do more things they need to be ‘hands-on’ with…for whatever type of testing,” said Brice Bruno, system vice president of laboratory and pathology services at Wellstar, in Georgia. “The things that can be automated, have to be.”

2023 Medline Lab Roundtable

The roundtable provided a forum for lab and supply chain leaders to discuss trends, best practices and the current state of the lab

“If you’re not engaged in the IT conversation and actively pursuing it, you’re going to fall behind. Everything these days has a foundation in information technology,’ said Michelle Bridges, senior modality program manager, laboratory system ancillary services at AdventHealth in Florida.

“Assimilating technology into lab requires some internal planning,” added Jon Pruitt, senior vice president of supply chain, Community Hospital Corporation in Texas. “You must get your arms around a data collection process that provides clean, quality data in order to integrate artificial intelligence, machine learning and other technologies more accurately.”

Communicating the value of lab

While the pandemic elevated the essential role of the lab in healthcare, lab leaders said they are competing more than ever for limited resources and are looking for ways to communicate the value of lab – particularly in the current environment of private acquisition and consolidation of labs and health systems.

“System leaders not only need to understand what’s happening clinically in the lab,” said Jane Hermansen, past president of the Clinical Laboratory Management Association. “Leadership needs to see labs as the ‘revenue’ centers that they are or can be — vs. ‘cost’ centers.”

“Lab professionals are not afraid to try new things, and that was evident through the roundtable conversations.”

Michelle Bridges

Senior Modality Program Manager, Laboratory System Ancillary Services
AdventHealth in Florida

Hermansen stated that some of the ways lab leaders can communicate the importance of lab is by highlighting how good patient lab experiences lead to better HCAHPS scores; by sharing data on how relatively minimal lab costs impact patient decisions around additional procedures or care; and by demonstrating how labs can help manage costs and even drive revenue.

Emerging priorities in the lab

Other innovations currently impacting lab operations include:

  • Incorporating digital pathology – The use of digital pathology is on the rise due to how quickly the process is able to send cases out for review, giving pathologists more time for patient consultations. The technology is also attracting a new type of pathologist who is interested in working with next-gen technology. Challenges to digital pathology are the cost of data storage and the legacy mindset of pathologists.
  • Moving toward individualized medicine – Pharmacogenomics and next-generation sequencing testing are focusing on how to provide specific treatments for patients with a specific genetic makeup.
  • Bringing lab closer to the patient – Labs leaders are spearheading efforts within their systems to bring testing and point-of-care diagnostics closer to the patient, which will drive efficiencies around reducing the length of stay and transitioning a patient from an inpatient to outpatient setting.

“We’re all moving in a similar direction, but we’re moving at a different pace based on priorities in our geographical locations and the patients that we serve,” said Bruno.

“All of us in lab are working on some very important things that are going to take lab science to the next level,” said Bridges. “Lab professionals are not afraid to try new things, and that was evident through the roundtable conversations.”

Read more about how Medline supports labs and lab capabilities across the continuum of care.

Categories: Caregiver Readiness, Healthcare Segment News, Supply Chain

Medline Newsroom Staff

Medline Newsroom Staff

Medline's newsroom staff researches and reports on the latest news and trends in healthcare.

View All Stories From This Author