Financial Modeling for Laboratory Decision Making


Laboratory personnel are periodically confronted with complex decisions, such as opting to buy versus lease, adding a new test to the menu, or bringing a reference test in-house. These decisions are generally made with simplistic models that do not adequately capture risk, incorporate alternative courses of action, or allow for sequential decisions that evolve over time. As a result, decision makers often obtain suboptimal results.

This lecture will present cutting-edge techniques that incorporate risk, facilitate the comparison of multiple alternatives, and provide insight into common laboratory decisions.

Participants will learn how to build financial models utilizing Microsoft Excel and Palisade Decision Tools, a popular add-in; how to use decision trees and simulation models; and how to apply these techniques to common laboratory problems.

Originally presented on March 19, 2015, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Lecture Presenters

Robert Schmidt, MD, PhD, MBA

Robert Schmidt, MD, PhD, MBA

Director, Center for Effective Medical Testing
ARUP Laboratories
Assistant Professor of Pathology
University of Utah School of Medicine

Dr. Schmidt is the director of the Center for Effective Medical Testing at ARUP Laboratories and an assistant professor of pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He received his medical degree from the University of Sydney in Sydney and completed his residency training in clinical pathology at the University Of Utah School of Medicine. He received an MS in biochemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MBA at the University of Chicago, a PhD in operations management at the University of Virginia, and an MMed in clinical epidemiology from the University of Sydney.

Prior to completing medical school, Dr. Schmidt was an assistant professor of operations management at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and an associate professor of clinical operations management at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. Dr. Schmidt’s medical research focuses on diagnostic testing, specifically utilizing his business background to complement medical knowledge in performing evidence-based evaluation of diagnostic testing. His research includes comparative effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and utilization analyses of diagnostic tests, as well as operations and technology management related to diagnostic testing.

Suzanne Carasso, MBA, MT (ASCP)

Suzanne Carasso, MBA, MT (ASCP)

Director, Business Solutions Consulting, ARUP Laboratories
ARUP Laboratories

Ms. Carasso, the director of Business Solutions Consulting at ARUP, is a medical technologist and business professional with more than 25 years of technical and management experience in the healthcare industry, with a primary focus market analysis, operations improvement, and business planning for hospital laboratories and health systems. She is responsible for working with ARUP clients to develop laboratory business services or enhance existing business units. To date, she has worked with more than 30 hospitals and health systems to analyze market opportunity and develop business plans designed to inform and engage executive leaders and secure capital investment for laboratory business operations. Ms. Carasso received a bachelor of science in medical technology from the University of Tennessee Center for Health Science and her master of business administration from the University of Colorado at Denver.


After this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Determine when advanced modeling techniques are likely to be helpful.
  • Explain how simulation models are used to incorporate risk analysis in decisions.
  • Build simple models using Excel add-ins to analyze problems using decision trees and simulation.

Sponsored by:

University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Pathology, and ARUP Laboratories