Introducing PennLab

Published by Michael Feldman, MD, PhD, on May 03, 2022

PennLab is a systemic way to think about the integration between the Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the six hospitals within the Penn Medicine system. This initiative offers opportunities for building inter-entity relationships, collaboration, unifying education, and sharing resources. Harmonization across the health system can enhance the patient experience and increase the collective success of the Department.

The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine is in the process of uniting the six entity pathology departments within a single unifying department termed PennLab. The driving goal of PennLab is to bring the practice of pathology in support of clinical care together across our distributed enterprise and harmonize practice patterns across the disciplines of Anatomic Pathology, Laboratory Medicine, Transfusion Medicine and Therapeutic Pathology, Neuropathology, Hematopathology and Molecular Diagnostics.

Entity-wide subspecialty groups meet and work on standardization efforts in AP, Laboratory Medicine, Microbiology, Hematopathology and Transfusion Medicine. Neuropathology is harmonized across our six entities by centralizing and leveraging the four neuropathologists at the main campus to handle all glial tumors and nerve/muscle biopsies across the health system. System-level harmonization includes using the purchasing power of the enterprise to standardize instrument platforms to reduce operating costs and cost per test, moving to a single Lab Information System. PennLab integrates with our health system clinical service lines through these discipline-specific enterprise working groups to create uniformity and consistency for patients, regardless of which entity they are treated at.

Laboratory information systems are gradually harmonizing with the merger of Princeton Medical Center LIS system with the three downtown hospitals on single computer system across Anatomic and Clinical Pathology from Cerner corporation. Middleware (which manages the decision rules for instrumentation) are harmonized across 5 of the entities. Digital Pathology integration will leverage our enterprise PACS (Sectra) and be harmonized across 5 of the 6 entities to allow for enterprise migration to digital signout and rapid case consultation across the entities in support of clinical service lines.

The value of system integration was readily apparent in our harmonized response to COVID testing. Adoption of rapid assay platforms (30-90 minute TAT) was standardized across PennLab and the slightly slower but high volume robotic COVID testing instrumentation was implemented at HUP and offered across all 6 entities for less urgent testing (8-12 hr) using couriers to transport specimens to our Rittenhouse COVID testing laboratory. To date, more than 1.2 million COVID tests have been performed using this approach.

Key Personnel

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

David B. Roth, Md, PhD
Simon Flexner Professor and Chair

Robert L. Challender
Chief Operating Officer

Michael Feldman, MD, PhD
Vice Chair for Clinical Services

Brooke McDonnell, MBA, ASQ CSSBB
Senior Director for Clinical Operations

Pennsylvania Hospital

Franz Fogt, MD, PhD, MBA

William Hunt, MBA, MLS(ASCP)CM
Senior Director, Hospital Clinical Operations

Penn Presbyterian Medical Center

Anna M. Moran, MD

Michael Atweh, MS, MBA/MHA
Senior Director

Lancaster General Health

Bruce E. King, MD

Brian Stambaugh, MPA, MT(ASCP)SBB
Director of Laboratory Operations

Princeton Medical Center

Elliot A. Krauss, MD

Karen Fruhmann, MS, MT(ASCP)
Director of Laboratory Operations

Chester County Hospital

Mehmet I. Goral, MD, PhD

Jacqueline Anderson
Administrative Director, Laboratory Services


Michael D. Feldman, MD, PhD
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Vice Chair for Clinical Services
Director, Office of Pathology Informatics


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these blog columns are those of the authors or other attributed individuals and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Department, Penn Medicine, or the University of Pennsylvania. Health information is provided for educational purposes and should not be used as a source of medical advice or diagnosis.