PAML announced today that 2014 was a record year for the national reference laboratory, having achieved the highest volume growth in company history. Founded in 1957, PAML broke all previous records for requisition volume with a year-over-year quarterly growth of 14.6% and a year-over-year total annual growth of 8.6%. More importantly, these record numbers were achieved organically, meaning the company’s volume growth did not include any acquisitions that took place during the year. PAML’s requisition volumes also grew at a much higher rate in 2014 than the industry in general, which averaged 3-4% growth annually.
According to Patty Sipes, senior vice president of sales, marketing, and business development at PAML, “We accomplished record volumes in 2014 by focusing on process improvement and pinpointing areas we could grow and find leverage. Over the last three years, our management team has taken major steps in development strategy and value-creation in order to improve our position in the market. In addition, our sales teams have done a great job in expanding our client base and helping to drive our volumes. I always encourage the sales reps to be persistent and keep moving ahead!”
“The all-time highs we achieved in volume growth for 2014 represent teamwork at its best,” said Rosalee Allan, senior vice president and chief operating officer for PAML, LLC and PAML Ventures. “Our record performance can be attributed to our employees’ hard work and our laboratory’s commitment to excellence.” According to Allan, “As our sales representatives drove our test volumes higher, our logistics team formulated new transportation schedules for targeted regions so that incoming specimens arrived at our Spokane laboratory earlier than before. Our intake processes leveled the workload rapidly and our automated systems handled the increase in volume very well. One key outcome achieved is that, despite the volume increases, our dwell time was reduced significantly.” Dwell time refers to how long a lab specimen waits before the testing process takes place.
Employee longevity has also been a factor in achieving record volumes in 2014. Long-standing, experienced employees lead to increased customer loyalty, and therefore, increased volumes. The laboratory’s FTE count has not increased along with our volume growth due to standardization and simplification of processes throughout the company’s departments and divisions. Approximately 26% of PAML’s staff has been with the company for at least 10 years, and 15% of the staff has been with the company for over 15 years.
PAML’s commitment to technological innovation also helped achieve the record volumes set in 2014. As the number of specimens increased, the laboratory invested in new equipment and methodologies to improve turnaround time. Coincident with changes in methodologies, PAML also initiated customer education to direct clients toward utilizing more current and appropriate testing, allowing elimination of antiquated testing thereby improving patient care and improving operational efficiencies.
PAML also restructured their esoteric division in 2014 as part of their plan to increase the breadth of their laboratory testing. The restructuring streamlined testing processes, improved efficiency, increased productivity, and made it possible for the laboratory to perform more complex testing. As a result, PAML is now providing its clients with a broader range of specialized molecular and gene-based testing than in the past. Dr. Gregory Clark, vice president of the National Esoteric Reference Laboratory (NRL) at PAML, indicated that, “we are consistently challenging ourselves to provide the best outcomes for our client’s patients. By restructuring, we have been able to expand our subspecialty menu to cover a wider scope of LC-MS/MS testing. These changes have also contributed to higher testing volumes.”
“2014 was a tremendous year for us in terms of organic growth,” said Francisco R. Velázquez, M.D., S.M., the company’s president and chief executive officer. “This major milestone occurred despite the significant changes we are seeing in healthcare. That speaks volumes about our employees’ commitment to meeting the needs of our clients. We believe we are in a strong position to continue to accelerate our growth in 2015. We will continue expanding our products and services, and also focus on optimizing our customer experience.”