Sunquest guides clients to make informed, innovative laboratory software choices

Jan. 18, 2015
Matt Hawkins


“I have been in my present role at Sunquest since May 2014. I previously served as President and Board Member of Greenway Health, Chief Executive Officer and Board Member of Vitera Healthcare Solutions, CEO and Board Member of SirsiDynix, and Vice President and General Manager of Henry Schein Practice Solutions.”


BA, Brigham Young University

MBA, Harvard Business School


“I am committed to organizations that advance healthcare. I serve on the American Cancer Society of Central Florida Board and I am a Board advisor member for the American Heart Association in Florida. I love to run and jog and watch my kids play various sports, such as soccer or baseball, and watch my daughters dance. My family and I are looking into community organizations to join in our new home of Tucson, AZ.”

If you were explaining Sunquest to someone who is not familiar with the organization, how would you characterize its primary areas of expertise? Sunquest is a market leader in laboratory software, and our primary areas of expertise are the development, architecture, and delivery of solutions that help make small, medium, and large hospital-based labs, independent labs, health system labs, and commercial labs work successfully. We are true partners in the delivery and development of diagnostic information that healthcare professionals use to treat patients. We help providers deliver healthcare across the continuum and view ourselves as true diagnostic partners, dedicated to advancing healthcare and how it is delivered to our clients.

How have your company’s solutions evolved in recent years to address changing clients’ needs? There is much emphasis placed on the “Triple Aim” of improving healthcare in the United States: decreasing costs per patient, improving quality per patient, and increasing access per patient, and rightly so. Sunquest is at the heart of creating and aiding those improvements. When you think of a value-based or value-oriented health system, whether you are a small, medium, or large hospital or a participant in helping drive value, at the heart of that value-based system you have to have accurate, timely, and cost-efficient diagnostic information. Sunquest helps our clients produce that information by helping to optimize the tests that should be ordered, using business and clinical logic. We also help reduce waste and inefficiency, in terms of duplicative test orders or wrong test orders, and our software applications help providers interpret test results correctly and then diagnose patients based on those results. 

How does the Meaningful Use program, now and as it will progress from stage to stage, impact services that Sunquest offers its customers? We believe in the Meaningful Use program. We think there is real merit to having providers and hospital systems move their systems to a digitized state. It is part of our mission at Sunquest to help our clients certify and test for Meaningful Use. We fully support them to attain and maintain not only an initial certification for Meaningful Use but on an ongoing basis, making sure they are compliant with the full quality measures associated with these programs and initiatives. It is a very important part of our business. 

There has been much discussion in the lab community about the changing (e.g., digital) technologies in pathology, and the changing roles of pathologists in the healthcare delivery system. How does Sunquest address these trends in its pathology offerings? We think the practice of pathology is evolving in important ways both from a scientific and technological perspective. We have so much more capability today than we did 10 to 15 years ago. Technology is enabling the practice of pathology to evolve in some very exciting ways, and Sunquest supports those ways. 

One trend we are seeing is that digital pathology is becoming more mainstream. Regulatory requirements are becoming clearer, storage costs are decreasing, and imaging is becoming more portable; these technologies are converging and enabling digital pathology. Also, pathology is becoming more integrated. Anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, microbiology, and molecular/genetic testing—all these previously disparate and independent forms of pathology are becoming closely related. Sunquest can deliver an integrated view of all these different forms of pathology because we can provide the software to address and manage the practice of pathology. We think that this is a really exciting trend in the market that we are helping to drive. 

One thing that I would emphasize in that context is the role we are playing in furthering the practice of precision medicine, which is changing the roles of pathologists and diagnosticians. Sunquest is committed to precision medicine and believes that genetic and molecular testing is an increasingly significant part of pathology. We recently announced a strategic partnership with the company GeneInsight to advance precision medicine.

Point-of-care testing represents challenges and opportunities for labs. How do Sunquest’s solutions help labs navigate quality management and compliance issues associated with POCT? We take a lot of pride in helping our clients to be good at point-of-care testing. All of our software supports safe and timely collection of the samples and specimens at the point of care, with products like Collection Manager and Sunquest Laboratory, and some of our anatomic pathology solutions such as PowerPath and CoPathPlus. We are also seeing the POC shift away from the hospital bedside and away from an office-based setting. Our hospital or health system clients want to get closer to the community of the patients that they serve. We see remote sites popping up in support of that purpose as healthcare moves from an acute setting to an ambulatory setting, to stand-up labs that are focused on collecting tests. Several of our clients are doing that, and our software completely supports and promotes it. We think it is important; we also think that it is important to keep it highly regulated to ensure that quality and patient safety are paramount.

Does that have to do with population health management going to where the people are? Is that related to contemporary outreach strategies? As part of our effort to build technology that can enable our clients to serve their patients effectively, we conducted a survey recently. We surveyed hospital and health system CIOs, CFOs, and CEOs and found some interesting trends. One was that about 40% of them have some form of outreach program today, and of those that don’t have a program today, nearly 70% expect to have one in the next three years. They see the POC shift, and they see how important it is to get close to clients.They view the lab as strategically important in support of an Accountable Care Organization model, so they are looking to position lab assets in the community close to patients. We think that is really exciting.