The nation’s healthcare system -- and with it, the laboratory community – is undergoing a period of tremendous change as The Affordable Care Act begins implementation and new healthcare delivery models such as The Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) proliferate. With more than 70 percent of medical decisions based on lab data, laboratories are emerging as vital partners of these new healthcare teams. Labs are uniquely qualified to use the patient data they capture to provide feedback to allied health professionals that can increase efficiency and contain health-care costs while improving patient care.

As the nation’s largest independent laboratory accreditor, COLA offers a wide range of services designed to enable clinical laboratories to meet U.S. CLIA and other regulatory requirements, and to act in accordance with quality systems. COLA is presently the only healthcare accreditation organization deemed by CMS which is certified to satisfy the ISO 9001: 2008 standard for “Quality Management System” standards established by the International Standards Organization (ISO), a recognized leader among world standard-setting bodies. COLA also is the first and, to date, only private clinical laboratory accreditor to receive deemed status by Laboratory Field Services (LFS) in the State of California. Clinical laboratories can now demonstrate compliance with federal CLIA regulations as well as California laboratory licensure laws and regulations through COLA accreditation.

Patient Centered Laboratory Excellence Program

To further assist laboratories in promoting excellence in a changing healthcare environment, COLA has established its own Patient Centered Laboratory Excellence (PCLE) program. The program emphasizes continuous good laboratory practices above and beyond current regulatory requirements for moderate and high complexity labs. Practitioners using the services of a COLA-accredited or PCLE-recognized laboratory can be assured of high quality results, generated by well-trained staffs that use state-of-the-art communications to deliver enhanced access to results to both patients and providers.

Laboratory Thought Leader

As a result of its industry-leading accreditation program and other services, COLA has emerged as the major voice of the laboratory industry. For example, the organization recently brought together more than thought leaders in health care, including physicians, regulators, public health experts, medical laboratory scientists, manufacturers, nurse practitioners and others to discuss the future of laboratory medicine in the context of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The group explored the implications of the dynamics of ACA and changing payment policies on quality and learning in laboratory medicine. By bringing together leaders across professional disciplines to discuss the role of laboratory medicine, COLA is helping to promote a “whole system” dialogue so that when healthcare teams make decisions impacting the quality of patient care, they don’t create unintended consequences. For more information, visit Count on COLA to continue to frame the laboratory’s proper role in the brave new world of healthcare, and ensure that laboratories are not left behind as new healthcare models are fully implemented.

For more information about COLA accreditation services and products, visit booth# 1054 at the 2014 Clinical Lab Expo. You can also call 800-981-9883 Call: 800-981-9883 or visit COLA's web site at