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environmental scan, health care policy, laboratories



  1. Cortelyou-Ward, Kendall PhD
  2. Rotarius, Timothy PhD
  3. Liberman, Aaron PhD
  4. Trujillo, Antonio PhD


As hospitals fight for their portion of reimbursed health care expenditures, it will become increasingly necessary to investigate alternative funding mechanisms. In-house laboratories, which have likely been seen in the past as pure cost centers, can be repositioned to provide additional revenue to hospitals. This opportunity for in-house laboratories to be remade into profit centers is predicated upon a thorough understanding of the environmental factors affecting hospital laboratories. This article examines 4 distinct environmental factors: demographic and socioeconomic trends, reimbursement and financing, government policy, and clinical events. Each of these external environmental factors provides 2 broad sources of interest to hospitals and their in-house laboratory components: opportunities on which to capitalize and hazards against which to defend.