Outsourcing in Clinical Diagnostics

Published: 9 Jul 2004

By Alex Wong, Industry Manager, Discovery & Diagnostics 

Outsourcing has been an ongoing practice in the biopharmaceutical, chemical and drug discovery sectors for many years now. Likewise, subcontracting in the field of clinical diagnostics represents no new phenomenon. In a recent Frost & Sullivan end user survey which implicated approximately 500 central labs across Europe, lab managers were asked what they would do if they needed to perform a particular assay for which they did not have the testing capability. Reflective of the current climate of cost-constraints affecting the European diagnostics industry, outsourcing - rather than investing in new technology - emerged as the prominent solution. Following on from last month’s insight into outsourcing in the in vitro diagnostics industry, this article highlights some of the key rationale behind the appeal of outsourcing in the clinical laboratory arena. 

Why outsource?

More often than not, labs (and companies in general) tend to outsource so as to access capabilities not currently available in-house. Such competencies include:

  • accreditations of personnel and lab practices, including quality control and quality assurance processes
  • analytical equipment
  • experience 
  • technical expertise

Employing a contract laboratory / service provider may also aid in:

  • combating (skilled) staff shortages
  • eliminating purchase of sophisticated, capital-intensive instrumentation
  • implementation of ‘best practices’ - providing an independent viewpoint on current procedures and analytical techniques compared to in-house protocols
  • improving result turn around time
  • project management - extremely large or low priority assignments realised without neglecting higher priority tasks

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