The ADLM Conference: A Dynamic Meeting of Minds
While other executives at U.S. HealthTek have been to what was the AACC Conference, this was a first for Mike Pratt, our VP of Sales and Marketing, and for me (attending as U.S. HealthTek’s COO). It was invigorating, inspiring, and it was either Las Vegas or Disney World for lab geeks, depending on whether you ask me or Mike. It was the first event after the 75-year-old organization’s name change from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) to the more accurate and inclusive Association for Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine (ADLM). “Impressively, this organization seems to be the melting pot for the latest and greatest lab technology,” Mike commented, summing it up nicely. Twenty thousand showed up in Anaheim for this global event and we were just in awe of its enormity. On the first day, I logged 5-1/2 miles walking the floor!
Our goal was to connect with current U.S. HealthTek clients and start discussions with other prospects in the healthcare space whose goals match our own; that is, making the healthcare institutions we serve more efficient, successful, and profitable. Current clients we visited with included Data Innovations and Luminate Health, and as always, we found that face-to-face time valuable.
“One of the big takeaways of the show is the increased desire to form partnerships,” Mike said. “While it’s always been prevalent, now it’s undeniable. Device manufacturers, healthcare application vendors, and a host of others are looking to work in collaborative ways. Channels for discussion and creating new solutions together were more open than ever.” I found that to be true as well.
Industry Advancement Highlights
While standing with our friends at Data Innovations, we noticed something zip-tied to the rafters. It caught our attention because we would see this bright flash of light pass through a tube every few seconds. I had to follow it and I discovered that it was a specimen management and transport system from Sarstedt. This high-speed pneumatic tube system traveled through almost the entire convention center. I learned that the big advantage of the system was that it could be set up in a lab or hospital without having to pull permits, which makes it a versatile solution for any company looking to improve specimen handling efficiencies without all the red tape.
We saw on the floor that many companies are investing heavily in point-of-care devices. These are at-home devices or devices found at a physician’s office that offer the ability to get quick results without going to the lab. Patients want to take control of their health care, and the industry is responding.
An advancement that caught my eye was the molecular diagnostics devices of the future from SeeGene. As Mike explained, “their AI platform can interface with smart devices, basically anything you have that plugs in, and provides updates on your health information in real-time. AI is already in the fabric of the present, and all the manufacturers in our industry have bought into it whether it’s utilizing AI capabilities to interface with smart devices, or to create digital pathology platforms, or to revolutionize revenue cycle management. Of course, now it’ll be about reimbursement; what will be generally accepted by payors remains to be seen.”
Another interesting conversation I had was with Jim Lucas, Sales Engineer for Diamond Technologies, about their RFID tags. They are using RFID labels for specimens, where a barcode reader identifies the label itself and captures the information. When you have a large lab and you’re processing thousands of specimens a day, keeping track of them becomes vital. The RFID tags also let you track a specimen’s last known location, which is tremendously valuable.
One company I spent time with, just for my own curiosity, was one that makes all the OEM for lab-related robotics. Remember Capsela? The construction toy in the 1980s you would put parts together and make a remote-controlled car or boat? It was like that – just much more complicated … and it does much more than just entertain kids!
How U.S. HealthTek Fits In
The conference allowed us to explore new opportunities. Mike already mentioned a big one: the need for revenue cycle management. Collecting payments for laboratory services or medical services is vital, and the easier, faster, and more accurate the reimbursement process is the better. We were hearing a buzz throughout the floor about the issue of payors denying payments for patient treatment and testing, so streamlining that process has always been a priority – and a headache because it’s ever-changing. For example, AI has become a polarizing topic and a focal point in healthcare. Understanding how different companies are using AI platforms to enhance their service offerings, improve outcomes, and support patient-driven initiatives was exciting.
Attending ADLC proved once again that the world of IT never stops. Healthcare IT in specific is moving at light speed. On my return home from Anaheim, I took time to reflect on how well-positioned U.S. HealthTek is to help labs, healthcare institutions, application device manufacturers, and software vendors of all sizes integrate and get the most out of these new technologies. Any kind of system/device update or upgrade in the healthcare space is going to need expertise and experience to ensure it is effective and efficient. At this moment there’s risk in not updating and not upgrading; so, it needs to be done, and needs to be done right. It was inspiring to see how we fit into those scenarios and how USHT can help improve personal care for so many through our direct contracting and partnership service lines.
“I came away with feeling good about U.S. HealthTek’s core competency in relation to the expansion of interface development and project management,” Mike offered during a recap. “The new technology being developed will need to be integrated, and that’s where we shine. Taking on the administrative burden is another way we can really help organizations with these new developments.”
The final takeaway from me? There was a lot of gawking and awe at the size and sophistication of these booths! I don’t even want to speculate as to the cost having seen one booth that boasted a square footage larger than my house. I did geek out, as it was a feast for the eyes with lights and moving parts everywhere. But the biggest personal highlight is of course the people you meet and run into – I saw friends and colleagues that I haven’t seen in 15 years. I was inspired by the entire event and look forward to acting on what we learned into the coming months!
And now, here it is, your moment of Zen ….