MedStar Health is the largest healthcare provider in Maryland and Washington, D.C., generating $5.8 billion in net operating revenue annually. They manage ten hospitals — including MedStar Hospital
Center, the largest hospital in Washington, D.C. — and 33 urgent care clinics. They are comprised of more than 35,000 medical professionals and see more than 120,000 inpatient admissions and 4 million outpatient visits annually.
A Large Integrated Delivery Network Requiring Substantial Testing Capacity
During the Omicron surge, as cases increased dramatically, MedStar experienced an exceedingly high demand for COVID-19 tests and faced a significant challenge in their response to meet these growing demands in a timely manner. MedStar’s internal rapid testing capacity had its limitations, and everyone was becoming increasingly frustrated by the rising turnaround times.
MedStar needed to test their own nurses, residents, fellows and physicians, adding more than 30,000 tests per week on top of patient volume, which included all admitted patients. The healthcare provider not only dealt with an overwhelming testing demand and delay in result return, but also staff and reagent shortages.
Justin Reuter, Assistant Vice President of Integrated Labs, oversees all laboratories across the entire MedStar health system. He and his team knew they needed to rapidly find a partner to assist with COVID-19 testing volumes.
Exhausting All Solutions Until the Right Partner Came Along
According to Reuter, other medical facilities and reference labs in the area that MedStar could partner with could not assist with throughput as they were overburdened with similar challenges.
Reuter and the team looked into every possible option, including pooled testing resources. They also considered working with instrument suppliers to purchase additional machines so they could increase available reagent orders. However, they quickly realized that this option would take too long to implement, and while still facing reagent shortages, would be financially inefficient. A better alternative was needed, and soon.
Through a connection from a colleague at the University of Maryland Medical System, Reuter learned that UMMS had increased their COVID-19 testing capacity by partnering with the Pandemic Response Lab.
After reaching out, Reuter quickly realized that PRL could be the solution they were looking for. Unlike many experiences his team has had with reference labs in the past, the sales and onboarding process with PRL was transparent and uncomplicated. According to Reuter, the simplicity was what appealed to him, and he never felt like there was a sales pitch.
Achieving Results Under Pressure
The two organizations buckled down and focused on getting systems integrated quickly under the looming demands. They implemented a small change in the collection method, which was handled swiftly with straightforward communication and clear education.
Within a week, one of MedStar’s hospitals was sending samples to PRL, and within a month, the systems were fully integrated, with PRL conducting a portion of their COVID-19 testing for the entire health system.
Up until MedStar started working with PRL, they were running COVID tests through their hospital labs or sending them to reference labs, so patients would either get their results in hours or in a week. Since the integration, MedStar’s patients can expect their results within the one-day mark.
PRL as a Trusted Partner for COVID-19 Testing
With this integration in place, hospital labs within MedStar’s network are no longer overburdened by COVID-19 surges and their daily testing demands. Instead, they are able to focus on providing high quality care to all of their patients.
PRL’s transparency and focus on results have earned MedStar’s trust as their reliable COVID-19 testing partner, and both companies look forward to continuing their partnership for years to come.