Optum launches laboratory benefit management solution to reduce unnecessary testing and improve quality of care

June 23, 2022
The comprehensive solution aligns testing with clinical evidence, helping health plans better manage lab test utilization and spending.

Optum announced the launch of a comprehensive laboratory benefit management solution designed to help health plans reduce unnecessary lab testing and ensure their members receive appropriate, high-quality tests, according to a news release.

The potential savings for health plans range from $12-36 per member per year – or more than $3 billion annually. The offering will help health plans align lab testing with clinical, evidence-based guidelines and automate large parts of lab benefit administration.

Unnecessary lab testing is widely recognized as wasteful and potentially harmful to patients. Roughly 13 billion clinical lab tests are performed every year, making it the most utilized medical benefit. Health plans spend tens of billions of dollars on lab tests annually― yet studies show that 30% of lab tests are unnecessary.

Tests not clinically indicated can lead to unnecessary sample collection from patients and increased chances of incorrect results. The absence of industry standards and clinical efficacy data exacerbates misuse and misinterpretation of tests, often leading to inappropriate and unnecessary interventions.

Given these challenges and as more lab tests enter the market, health plans need a solution to address the current lack of test management and oversight.

“Lab testing is one of the most common touch points in healthcare and the benefit health plan members use most often,” said Rob Mayer, Senior Vice President, and general manager, Optum. “This new solution will help health plans determine which tests are clinically proven, streamline decisions and automate processes to significantly reduce unnecessary testing for their members and increase cost savings.”

Challenges are growing with frequent advances in genomics testing, which can assess a person’s genetic code to evaluate the personal risk of contracting one or more specific diseases. Optum’s new solution includes a multi-organizational team of clinical experts to develop evidence-based lab policies and evaluate new tests in this rapidly growing and evolving space.

“Testing is expanding so rapidly that most clinicians do not have the bandwidth to stay up-to-date on which ones are the highest quality. As clinicians, we all want reliable test results as we make decisions for our patients,” Jill Hagenkord, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Optum Genomics, said. “This laboratory benefit management solution leverages deep clinical expertise to help guide clinicians to the tests with the highest clinical validity and utility.”

This laboratory benefit management solution is now available to all health plans.

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