Laboratory scientist conducting tests next to a microscope in an on campus student health center

How Onsite Labs Can Improve Patient Care & Experience in Student Health Centers

What to Consider & How Patient Care & Clinical Efficiency Can be Elevated

This blog originally appeared on the Medline Newsroom.

Student health centers offering onsite COVID-19 testing are well-positioned to help stop the spread of the pandemic. With testing and technology all in one place, experts say it’s driving new thinking about how this clinical and operational advantage can support long-term success.

“The global pandemic has shined a light on the critical role lab plays in making quick and informed medical decisions,” said Doug Sharpe, vice president of laboratory capital at Medline. “Shifting lab resources and capabilities in-house has led to faster lab results to effectively diagnose and treat COVID-19 patients. We anticipate it will also play a stronger role in caring for everyday infectious diseases, like strep, influenza, and STDs.”

More Efficient Patient Care

Offering lab services in student health center setting has several benefits for both the patient and the institution, including:

  • Faster results: Consumers want results fast. Shrinking turnaround time from days to minutes could enable patients to reduce their chances of spreading infection and improve outcomes.
  • Greater clarity: Streamlined communication with the patient can eliminate the risk of misdelivery of results, additional appointments, and delayed treatment due to additional care provider consultations.
  • Improved access: Making it easier to test and analyze can provide affordable and timely options for the most vulnerable and underserved. It maximizes the patient visit and helps reduce community transmission.

Steps to Take When Considering In-House Labs

According to Sharpe, there are three things a student health center can do when evaluating the opportunity of an on-site lab:

  1. List out and evaluate the different types of tests needed, as well as their volumes, to understand your institution’s testing needs.
  2. Consider how patient care or patient experience could benefit from receiving more immediate results. For example, continuously monitoring patients with chronic diseases who have recovered from COVID-19 can help keep an eye on long-term effects and support their care needs.
  3. Once you’ve evaluated the benefit, identify the real cost for things like capital, staffing, and payback period. This can help you get a more realistic picture of how this new endeavor could impact patients and the organization.

Learn more about how Medline supports student health centers.

About the Author

Medline Industries, LP is the largest privately-held manufacturer and distributor of medical and surgical supplies in the U.S.

Learn more about E&I’s competitively solicited Medline contract.


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