I’m heading off to Cambodia today with my classmate, Christian Basa, from the USC Marshall part-time program. The trip that we’re going on is supported by grant from the USC Institute for Global Health, and we’re headed to Phnom Penh to volunteer at Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope (SHCH), a free hospital serving the poor of Cambodia. Because our background is in the business-side of healthcare rather than clinical, we’re going to be focusing on hospital operations, specifically their laboratory work. We’ll be here until January 4, taking a bit of time to visit Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor. You can stay updated with our activities by following my blog through the USC Marshall School of Business or through the USC Institute for Global Health.
Sponsored by the SHCH Medical Director and CFO, Christian and I will be evaluating the current cost model and capacity of critical laboratory test services that are offered at the hospital. We’ll be reviewing historical tests and usage rates at the clinical laboratory and performing a detailed analysis of in-patient & out-patient test volumes, as well as performing a throughput analysis for critical tests. Because of the differences in illnesses seen between a hospital in the 3rd world country and a hospital in the United States, it will be interesting to compare how test volumes differs between the two.
The origins of this project comes from a conversation between Christian Basa and the leadership of SHCH, who identified a clear need at the hospital to baseline and optimize the current operation activities in the clinical laboratory. The laboratory currently engages in joint-research work with private and corporate sponsors. This engagement provides the hospital with either lease-free or full-ownership rights to laboratory equipment with the condition that certain testing obligations are satisfied. In some cases, the laboratory bares the cost of materials and maintenance required by the equipment. Reagent costs alone could account for 70% of a laboratory test cost. Although several of these tests are essential to supporting hospital operations, the laboratory is uncertain to the degree of profitability or loss incurred by providing the test services. We’ll be performing an activity-based costing analysis to assess the revenue model of the hospital and because cycle-times and test demand can be estimated, a throughput assessment can be performed on current laboratory equipment and labor capacities. Where appropriate, rapid improvements (i.e. kaizens) will be made to improve performance, safety, quality, and cost.
This project is going to draw upon both Christian’s experience as a lean six sigma black belt with project management experience in hospital and laboratory operations and my experience with business process management and my background with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The classes we’ve taken through the USC Marshall School of Business will also be invaluable in determining how best to help SHSC.
Christian and I met through the USC Society and Business Lab Fellows program, a program that I’ve blogged about previously in my post “Changing the World with Business”. We’re both keenly dedicated towards utilizing our business capability to have positive impact in the world. If you’re interested in social impact or healthcare, I invite you to take a look at the USC Society and Business Lab as well as the USC Institute for Global Health.