CALGARY -- Alberta Health Services is seeking a third-party company to take over its lab testing services that could help save money.

To do it, AHS has announced a request for proposal (RFP) to find an organization that can provide "high-quality laboratory services for all Albertans."

The potential for cost savings was identified in the AHS performance review.

"AHS continues to pursue innovative approaches of delivering critical healthcare services more efficiently while enhancing the level of care for all Albertans," said Minister of Health Tyler Shandro in a statement. "Any savings realized through contracting community lab services will be invested elsewhere in the healthcare system, ensuring that use of healthcare dollars addresses the greatest areas of need in Alberta."

The RFP will include community-related lab collections, logistics and testing in urban centres and large rural communities.

The chosen provider(s) will be responsible for 65 per cent of lab work in Alberta, or about 50 million tests per year.

Presently, private sector companies conduct 30 per cent of all community lab tests, including 73 per cent in the Edmonton and North zones.

Alberta Precision Labs, the province's provider of lab testing services, will continue to handle the services for hospital sites that handle less than 25,000 community blood test collections per year.

The contract is expected to be awarded in spring 2021, with the successful provider(s) fully taking over the required services by 2022.