“If I live to be 90 years old, I’ll never have enough interfaces for our labs."

Will you ever have all the interfaces you need?

“If I live to be 90 years old, I’ll never have enough interfaces for our labs,” the lab director of a large healthcare organization recently commented. “And with the costs and ongoing maintenance, how can we afford them?”

Over the last few years with the proliferation of electronic medical records, healthcare organizations’ information systems have become increasingly complex. These systems need to share information, requiring costly interfaces. Often, there is more than one enterprise EMR, along with multiple LIS systems for blood bank, microbiology, oncology and others. When you add in existing legacy systems you can see how complex the interface network quickly becomes.

The ideal way to transmit data between a lab and the EMR is via an interface. However, the reality is many labs use a combination of both interfaced connections and a large volume of unstructured, non-interfaced data (paper-based lab results that require manual entry into the EMR, such as faxes, PDFs, or some other file format). And when this unstructured data is manually entered, it is prone to delays and human error.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Once the unstructured data arrives, how is it handled and incorporated so that the information is expedited and available to the clinical staff?
  2. Do you have the staff necessary to get all the lab data into the systems in an efficient manner? Furthermore how much data can your staff enter manually before becoming fatigued and error prone?
  3. What if there is a backlog?
  4. What if the data requires immediate attention? What if there is a priority patient?
  5. How are non-lab documents such as prescriptions routed to the appropriate workflows?

Today, leading healthcare organizations are utilizing intelligent data capture solutions so that unstructured, non-interfaced lab results and clinical data is automatically extracted from documents and placed into discrete fields and then made ready for verification – a single multi-lab solution, with lower costs and maintenance then a comparable interface.

Extract Systems allows you to capture this information so that non-interfaced lab results are automatically routed to the correct EMR and LIS systems. Customers consistently report that 80% of the data is captured accurately without human intervention. Our search functionality enables a search based upon urgency so you can find critical lab results, while excluding duplicates. Have a priority patient? Our solution can find these patients based upon predefined actions. No more searching through multiple faxed pages to find one critical lab result.


About the Author: Joseph Smith

With over 15 years experience working with large hospitals and health systems in both HIS and communication platforms, Joseph Smith helps healthcare organizations streamline data entry to enable fast access to critical information. He blogs on topics relating to advanced data capture, and automating workflows.