Changing the paradigm for collection centres

Taking multi-dimensional approach


Collection centres are a significant cost for laboratories to maintain and operate – but they can also be a major competitive advantage. In today’s world, patient and clinicians are driven to services based on convenience, ease of access, speed and efficiency.  The rapid growth and proliferation of collection centres has been predominantly driven by the commercial needs of labs to “lock in” their referral base and to maximise the capture of each patient episode.

The competition for referral business has become acute and clinical labs are now paying premium costs to establish collections in referring doctor and specialists’ medical practices.  Reports of clinical laboratory companies paying up to twenty times the market rent to set up collection centres in key medical centres, has been driven by the need of lab companies to capture and lock-in referral business that enable them to service corporate business models driven by the demand to maintain high volumes in a low margin industry.  While this short-term strategy has paid dividends to some large laboratory companies, the pressure on the bottom-line will require an adjustment of this strategy in the longer term.  There are also concerns for medical practices, where it is deemed that these lucrative rent arrangements give doctors an incentive to order unnecessary tests to give the laboratory company enough revenue to pay the high rents that prop up the doctors’ business.

Competing in this environment based purely and simply on like-for-like services becomes a dilemma based on questionable economics. It fails to recognise the changing expectations of patients and clinicians. As the range and sophistication of available diagnostic tests increases, clinicians more than ever are using diagnostic testing as an important diagnostic tool.  Today, more than 70% of all medical decisions are influenced by the results of diagnostic testing.

As test volumes and the reliance on diagnostic test results increases, a growing risk and concern for clinicians is the lack of visibility and consistency of service delivered by clinical laboratories.  Many clinicians report that they are unable to detect a discernable difference between the services delivered by the different laboratory service providers, and they are frustrated by inconsistent service delivery and results reporting.  Personal relationships between pathologists and clinicians that have driven referral loyalty is a thing of the past.  Today, referral loyalty is influenced by convenience, service consistency and reliability. Clinicians and patients are able to switch loyalty quickly and unbeknown to the lab.


Patients also are demanding more discerning, personalised and convenient health services that are more attune with modern service delivery practices.  The proliferation of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, combined with wide availability of the internet has seen the rapid development services that are both simple to access and easy to consume.

The modern expectation is that services are accessible anywhere and at any time.  From a smart phone, you can now order any number of services (e.g. groceries, consumer goods, transport) and arrange delivery at your convenience.  Why not healthcare?

On-line booking systems that enable patients to book appointments with doctors have been available for some time. Gone are the old days of “turn-up and wait your turn”. These systems not only provide convenience for patients, but also enable medical practices to become more streamlined and efficient.

Collection centres are the window to the laboratory and are the patients only view to laboratory diagnostic services.  An efficient and well organised centre, with well trained staff can leave a lasting and positive impression on each patient, and this can encourage return visits.  Perception on convenience of service, is more than a factor of location.   Waiting times, comfort and professional service interactions are factors that equally impact patient perceptions.

Managing collection centre facilities and staff can also be time consuming and demanding for laboratories.  Managing staff -  rostering, competencies, training and compliance, and maintaining equipment and facilities requires additional management resources at the lab.  In addition, the “walk in” service model used by labs makes it difficult to optimise collection centre staff and operating hours, as the lab has no visibility of future workloads or service requirements.

The operating model for traditional laboratory collections centres has restricted phlebotomists and collection centre staff to the collection of samples required to fulfil each patient order, and the preparation of those samples for transport to the lab.

Staff have generally had limited access to electronic and automated systems to assist them, leaving the quality and compliance of collections reliant on individual expertise and prone to human error.  The registration of patient and order details have been left to data entry staff at the laboratory, partly due to the complexity of the data entry process but also because of the need for cumbersome and expense infrastructure.  This imposes a potential processing bottleneck for the laboratory and a lost opportunity to confirm the accuracy of patient information during the only interaction of the patient with the lab.


Whether your need is to improve your competitive position or services, or to be more efficient and reduce costs, PAMS offers an entirely new platform to innovate and create an industry paradigm shift.  And the good news is that you can achieve both – improve services while reducing costs, without significant capital investment or implementation costs.

Our collection centre solution is underpinned by the PAMS pre-analytics solution and offers the opportunity to revolutionise the way that your collection centres operate, and the way that you interact with clinicians and patients.  Rethinking your collection centres will also enable you to reduce demands on your call centre and data entry teams while optimising key operational resources. 

The PAMS integrated pre-analytics app suite provides you with the complete platform to optimise and manage your collection centre network, while delivering the opportunity for you to build better and more loyal referral networks and improved patient interactions.  You can build your collection centre solution to suit your specific needs to be implemented in stages that suit your timeframes.  Your solution can be unique to you.

PAMS provides a connected approach that uses modern and portable mobile technologies to deliver a unique flexible solution integrating:

  • Visibility and management at the lab
  • Patient and order registration
  • Management of electronic and paper-based orders
  • Referral capture service model
  • Clinician visibility and alerts
  • Patient self-registration and service
  • Staff competency & training certification
  • Compliance, Audit & Quality Control
  • Courier Management


The PAMS approach connects clinicians and patients with the lab to deliver improved services and visibility.  By integrating with popular medical practice management packages, PAMS allows clinicians to order and monitor diagnostics services directly from their desktop.  The clinician knows when a patient has presented for collection of the required samples. They can be alerted when a patient does not present for collection, making them more proactive and mitigating the risk of potential negligence claims.  Through PAMS, you can provide the clinician with service monitors and alerts (e.g. patient samples collected, samples received at lab, reports available) and you can deliver results and alerts directly to their mobile device or desktop.

Patient interactions are equally proactively managed.  As soon as an order is submitted by the clinician, patients are invited to book their visit at your collection centre.  This can be conveniently done via their mobile device, web portal or at the doctor’s surgery.  The patient is provided with the most convenient of your collection centres based on location, available times and collection centre capabilities.

 At your collection centre, patient registrations become just as simple through PAMS mobile apps available to your collection staff.  Whether the patient is pre-booked or is a walk-in with a paper order, an intuitive and easy to use app guides your collection staff through patient and order registration, sample collection and preparation of samples for transportation to the lab.  The patient is presented with a convenient, efficient and professional health care experience that can differentiate you from your competition.


PAMS provides your management staff at the lab with the ability to plan and actively manage all collection centre activities.  From the lab you have full visibility of all current activities as well as future collections.  You are also alerted to potential service failures, allowing you to take pro-active management steps and remedial actions.

The PAMS integrated resource management and planning app that enables you manage staff availability and rostering and schedule resources across your collection centre network.  Should a staff member become unavailable, you can identify and allocate an alternative staff member based on skills and availability.  PAMS also allows you to manage staff competencies, delivering training and certification testing directly to each staff member through their mobile device.

Through customisable dashboards and alerts, collection managers can monitor the progress of collection activities. Active alerts highlight potential issues requiring attention.

From the time of placement of orders by clinicians through to delivery of results you now have complete visibility of all activities outside the lab – for the first time the process outside the lab becomes controlled and fully manageable.


Changing the collection centre paradigm to meet modern expectations can deliver benefits to clinician, patient and labs.

Delivering new age services provides labs with the opportunity exploit efficiencies, strengthen relationships with their referral base and rethink they way that they differentiate in a competitive market, and regain ground in an uneven playing field.

You can build and deliver your collection centre model to suit your business, and you can implement your strategy in the stages that suits your needs – no need for an “all or nothing” approach - you tailor the solution to your needs.

Using PAMS this new future is here, now!