Pathagility was in New Orleans last week for The Dark Report’s Executive War College on Laboratory and Pathology Management.  Robert Michel, Editor in Chief of The Dark Report, opened the event with a presentation entitled: Lab Medicine’s Appointment with Destiny: Skyrocketing Utilization, Inadequate Funding, and the Incredible Clinical Value of Laboratory Tests. In his address to the attendees Mr. Michel highlighted the upcoming wave (the “Silver Tsunami”) of baby boomers hitting the age of retirement.  Senior’s impact on our country’s health care system include but are not limited to lab testing.

Cited from U.S. Census data:

  • 303 million Americans
  • 17% are over the age of 65
  • 26.4% of the American population are “baby boomers”
  • In 2010 every hour 360 “baby boomers” reach 64 years old.

Currently every American under the age of 65 averages 2 lab tests per year.  The population of 65+ average over 9 lab tests per year.  80 million “baby boomers” reaching retirement will equate to 80,000,000 X 9 lab tests per year.

The overall health of United States citizens and other countries is on the decline and chronic conditions (i.e. obesity) are on the increase.

Increased taxes on medical suppliers and providers added to lower reimbursements will further strain the industry.   Access to tests due to the flood of demand will be of concern.   Perhaps the only sure bet is that the healthcare debate is just getting started, and one question begs to be answered: Can innovation and increased competition lead to increased efficiencies to thwart declines in the quality and access to care?