Lab Interoperability Challenge #1: Data Delay

Dealing with Data Delay

Is your organization facing delays in access to data? If so, you are not alone. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 20% of preventable medical errors in the US are caused by the lack of immediate access to health information.

Even the most-wired providers can face backlogs, and lab interoperability issues, such as results waiting to be hand-entered or scanned into an EHR or LIS. Meanwhile, as clinicians wait for data to be made available, patient safety can be compromised when action is delayed.

How can you speed up the process? Here’s a checklist of steps to begin analyzing where delays happen. Within the lab:

How are non-interfaced and external lab results handled? Manually, or by scanning?

If by hand:

  • Who is responsible for the data entry?
  • How much time daily is spent by each team member doing the entry?

If scanned:

  • Who is responsible for the scanning?
  • How much time daily is spent by each team member dong the scanning?
  • Are protocols in place for triaging of orders?
  • Are orders marked "rush" given quicker attention, or is there a first-in, first-out rule?

Tracking data from the lab:

  • Once entered, where does the data go next?
  • After that, are there additional stops or steps along the way before the data lands in clinicians' hands?
  • Do your interfaced reports follow the same route?

If your answer to the last three questions is “I’m not sure where it goes” stay tuned. In Part 2 of this series, we’ll trace the digital equivalent of a ‘paper trail’ for lab results.

About the author: Ellen Bzomowski

With 20 years of experience in data capture and voice recognition, Ellen’s experience has focused on achieving higher efficiency and automation in getting data where it will be most useful to an organization. At Extract Systems, she continues to focus on the same ideas and works to get the word out about how Extract Systems’ advanced data capture and redaction solutions make more data valuable and accessible, while securing anything that is private. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University and lives and works in Boston.