TMH switching to use Mayo Clinic for lab testing
On June 24, The Memorial Hospital will add 2,200 world-renowned employees to back up its laboratory staff.
TMH will switch its laboratory consulting and out-sourcing facility from Quest diagnostics to the Mayo Medical Laboratories, which are part of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
"This change is a part of the hospital's strategic plan from our move to the new facility," lab manager Kristine Cooper said. "Any lab work that we aren't able to perform in house will be sent to them through a courier."
Cooper said this wasn't the first time that TMH has looked into using the Mayo labs.
"We met with Mayo a couple of years ago," Cooper said. "Our current (hospital) board was supportive of our push for an improvement in quality."
Before officially switching over, Cooper, pathologist Dr. Robert Collins and Marie Etzler, lab supervisor, flew in May to the Minnesota clinic for a tour and introduction to their new partners.
"They gave us the royal treatment," Collins said. "They paid for our trip and brought us from the airport to the clinic in a limo."
The most important aspect to TMH is the royal treatment given to the specimens that the lab sends.
"They are working on a process where 80,000 specimens a day are scanned and logged," Collins said. "It was impressive."
The TMH trio said they also were impressed by the personal touch they received and will receive in the future.
"Mayo labs work with only hospitals, and it is a personal relationship for us instead of being a number," Cooper said. "They showed us the site where our specimens will be processed, and we met the people who are assigned to Colorado."
Hospitals in Steamboat Springs, Glenwood, Delta and Montrose also are using Mayo. The switch also will come nine days after the lab at TMH will expand to a 24-hour lab. It's all a part of the plan to improve and expand on what TMH offers, all three said.
They said Mayo labs will only help with that plan.
"They will provide educational opportunities for staff and physicians," Collins said. "They have hundreds of experts just in pathology."
Among the new advances from Mayo is their testing techniques of the HPV (human papillomavirus), which is more sensitive than most labs. HPV is a causative agent of cervical cancer.
"The Mayo Clinic is always on the edge of the best and most advanced," Collins said.
According to the Mayo Lab Web site, their clients "have access to personalized customer service and comprehensive consultative services from Mayo Clinic laboratory professionals and clinicians 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Mayo Medical Laboratories specimens are indistinguishable from - and follow the same route as - our internal Mayo Clinic specimens. More than 18 million specimens were processed by our Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology last year."
The switch will be personally supervised by several Mayo employees and includes syncing computer systems and making sure specimens are correctly marked.