Los Angeles, CA, December 21, 2020 - LigoLab CEO Suren Avunjian was one of five business leaders recently honored for Innovations in Healthcare by Adaptive Business Leaders, an organization that provides monthly Round Table forums for CEOs, Presidents, and GMs of healthcare and technology companies in California.
Mimi Grant, ABL’s President, said all five innovators honored at this year’s virtual event developed new products and service lines, taking bold steps to not only survive the crisis but to thrive through the darkest days of the COVID pandemic. During the program, each Innovator in Healthcare awardee shared how he or she identified a COVID problem, developed a solution, and realized results after deploying the solution.
“What’s unique about this year’s awardees is that these innovations not only lower the cost of quality care, they were forged during COVID,” said Grant. “All five of the entrepreneurs who were honored at the event leaned into COVID, making much more than lemonade out of its lemons.”
Avunjian, the event’s most highly rated innovator, was honored for the LigoLab and TestDirectly response to COVID-19. While detailing his company’s response, he acknowledged that he had begun discussions with a laboratory partner about developing a direct-to-consumer portal back in 2019 and that SARS-CoV-2 quickly turned those discussions into an expedited reality.
“By the end of February, we realized that the approaching pandemic was inevitable and that testing would be a crucial component to getting control of the virus,” said Avunjian. “With testing, we could get the country out of lockdown and prevent health systems from being overwhelmed with sick patients.”
Avunjian said laboratories across the country were unprepared for what was to come, and that he and his team responded quickly by pivoting the development of the TestDirectly platform to cater to the new drive-through testing workflow that labs were just beginning to use to collect specimens.
“Back in March, the laboratory industry faced several problems, most of which centered on the manual workarounds and processes implemented as a reaction to the new ways specimens had to be collected,” said Avunjian. “The increased demand for testing and paper laboratory orders were creating huge bottlenecks and lines at the collection sites, and chokepoints at the laboratory. Once at the laboratory, these paper orders had to be transcribed into the laboratory’s information system, a slow, manual process that often resulted in data entry errors. Also, laboratories did not have any systems in place to return reports directly to patients, so this became yet another manual process that caused more delays.”
So how did Avunjian and his team attack this problem?
By digitizing the process.
“Within a few weeks, laboratories that were struggling with paper requisitions and unprecedented demand for their services had a tool in TestDirectly that they could use to remove bottlenecks, increase testing capacity, reduce manual processes, eliminate data entry errors, improve reporting turnaround times, and help public health agencies with the tracking and tracing of patients who tested positive for the virus,” said Avunjian.
TestDirectly is a web-based direct-to-consumer portal that increases testing accessibility for the public while opening up new streams of revenue for laboratories and collection facilities. It easily accessible via any smartphone, tablet, or computer, and it integrates with all laboratory information systems (LIS) and all revenue cycle management (RCM) solutions. TestDirectly creates an electronic workflow that supports the complete lifecycle of a specimen. This includes patient self-registration, appointment scheduling, specimen collection (drive-through, walk-ups, employer/organizational testing), laboratory processing, report delivery, and billing operations.
“The goal was to serve more patients without sacrificing on how quickly the patient would receive his or her results,” said Avunjian. “We launched TestDirectly in March and now nine months later, over four million tests have been processed on our platform.”
Avunjian noted that TestDirectly was designed to work well with all laboratory systems, but that it is especially effective when paired with LigoLab LIS and LigoLab RCM.
"Our fully integrated LigoLab partner labs that have added TestDirectly to their COVID-19 workflows have benefited greatly,” said Avunjian. “Two lab partners, in particular, Reditus Laboratories and Northwest Laboratory, surpassed one million COVID tests in November. These labs are processing upwards of 25,000 COVID-19 samples a day, and in nearly 99 percent of their cases, the patients are getting their results within 24 hours of the labs receiving their samples.”
In addition to the streamlined TestDirectly workflow, LigoLab LIS supports pooled testing technology that allows labs to boost capacity and improve turnaround times while saving on supply costs. Also, LigoLab RCM supports targeted automation and validation tools that help labs manage the escalated number of COVID-19 claims.
Thanks to the LigoLab and TestDirectly response to COVID-19, labs and collection sites across the country are now able to connect with patients, physicians, employers, and government agencies for fast, safe, and easy direct-to-patient and direct-to-consumer specimen collection, testing, and reporting.
Looking forward, Avunjian said the pandemic has sped up the adoption of digital technologies in healthcare by three-to-four years, and that consumerism is here to stay as patients increasingly are becoming more active in their healthcare. He also said that advancing technology will lead to a decrease in medical errors, the third leading cause of death in the U.S. annually, and help transform healthcare.
So what’s next for Avunjian?
LigoLab and TestDirectly are also well-suited to support the mass vaccinations that will play a major role in the fight to control and ultimately defeat the coronavirus in 2021. Look for more details on this in the coming days as Avunjian and his talented team leverage technology and innovation to respond to the next healthcare challenge.
More About the LigoLab Platform
TestDirectly is the latest addition to the LigoLab LIS & RCM Operating Platform that also includes customizable modules for Anatomic Pathology (AP), Clinical Pathology (CP), Molecular Diagnostics (MDx), and Revenue Cycle Management (RCM). Since 2006, LigoLab has served the healthcare industry as a leading provider of laboratory software that connects and integrates every department and lab process on one united software infrastructure.
Laboratories using the LigoLab LIS & RCM Operating Platform are fully integrated and supported by automation and powerful verification and scrubbing components. With these real-time tools, labs can begin the billing cycle at the order level to increase clean claim submissions and decrease claim denials, which improves efficiency, revenue, and profit.
More About ABL
Adapted Business Leaders provides focused and facilitated CEO Round Tables and Executive Forums for leaders in the healthcare and technology industries. In this special setting, there is a unique brain-trust of like-minded individuals that share industry knowledge, skills, and experiences while offering feedback and encouragement to their peers. To learn more about the benefits of an ABL membership, visit roundtables.abl.org.