Medical Informatics and Laboratory Management

Purpose: ‘Pathology is now a big business and medical scientists need to be more broader in focus apart from their clinical speciality areas’. This exercise is to teach you life skills on how to go about writing a business case that you could apply in your personal situation and in the context of a pathology environment.

Structure of a Business case:

Executive summary: Should include statements about what this business case is covering and the current state of pathology testing ie: keeping up with emerging demands as an example.

-What were the key findings of your business case?

-What was the financial viability of the business case?

-When would the proposal be profitable and break even point?

-Should it be implemented in the context of your proposal?

-What are the key recommendations?


-Pathology services play a key role in the diagnosis and management of diseases.

-The key business drivers are economic.

-Profitability relies on high throughput (automation) and minimal labour.

-Looking for opportunities to broaden the pathology service in the context of the patient population.

-You need to think about your hospital organisation: What is your patient population that requires pathology testing?

-What tests is your service going to offer and why?

Ie: Molecular genetic tests need to be justified based upon patient population, demand, disease entities.

Ie: ICU lab Biochemistry testing: What patient populations are in ICU? What type of Biochemistry tests would be required for these patients? This would then assist you determining type of analyser/s to be selected, range of tests and volume of tests to be analysed. You would also think about staffing.

SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Situational and Problem Statement:

-What is the current pathology service status?

-Are their any problems that can be addressed in the business case?

Ie: Turnaround time for ICU samples if you need to wait for results from central laboratory,

Ie: molecular genetic testing: If the samples are sent to an outside external laboratory-delay in testing and retrieval of results etc.

-Opportunities for development and growth.

Project Description:

-Outline the scope of the project.

Ie: What tests would be offered in the context of which diseases?

-Consider implementation phase: What major components would you need to consider: Staffing, purchasing and installation of equipment, documentation and training, testing and validation, IT and LIS, accreditation of service.

Solution Description:

-Turnaround time effects

-Control of quality

-Frequency of testing

-Staff development-Building of expertise and reputation

-May produce substantial cost savings.

Cost Benefit Analysis:

Income versus expenditure over time (5 years).

-Test income based upon current costs and MBS rebate for the proposed tests you are offering. The number of samples per day per test charged at 100% MBS rate.

-Costs: Major set up costs: equipment and labour.




-QC and QA

-Testing and Validation

-LIS and IT

Need to indicate profit/loss each year and point at which it breaks even to show where the business case will be financially viable and within what time frame.

Implementation timeline:

Do a GANTT chart of Activity vs Time.

Critical Assumptions and Risk assessment:

-Key assumptions.

-MBS rebate, volume of testing, cost of kits and reagents, cost of maintenance, cost of labour.

-risks of direct competitors that could affect volume of testing.

-risk of rising costs of kits, reagents, maintenance and labour etc.

Conclusions and recommendations:

-What were the considerations of the business case.

-Would it be financial viable and if so in what time frame?

-Would you recommend this business case to your executive

-Would their be cost savings?

-What is your final recommendation?

Essay Two


The purpose of this essay is to develop a business plan based upon a project that you have been given. Your business plan should contain all the key elements including background, executive summary, situational and problem statement, project description, solution description, cost/benefit analysis, implementation timeline, critical assumptions and risk assessments and conclusions and recommendations.


The topic will be one of the following options for the purpose of the exercise.

1. Imagine you are a team member of a large public hospital pathology service and you have been asked to formulate a business case to support an initiative of introducing a new satellite section close to the intensive care unit of a hospital to provide a stat lab encompassing ‘Clinical Biochemistry’. You have been briefed that you could expect to process approximately 50 samples per day. The scenario is that you are setting it up a stat lab for first time in a moderately sized pathology service located adjacent to ICU (physical space and facility has been made available). You will need to consider staffing for the stat lab in Clinical Biochemistry area, infrastructure (equipment) and kind of service (routine clinical biochemistry).


Your essay will be descriptive supported by evidence from researching your topic. The business plan should contain all the key elements listed above. For cost analysis, an excel spreadsheet would be desirable. The essay should be word-processed in double spacing using Times New Roman and no less than 12 point font size. Your essay should have a title followed by your name and student number. You should include a brief list of sources used in preparing your business case.

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