No interface? No problem. Automatically capture send-out test results into your LIS.
Unfortunately, setting up lab interfaces to every reference lab isn’t an option. This is especially true for low volume, high value esoteric labs.
I chose the title for this blog a bit tongue in cheek. You see, there are numerous blog posts about how to “properly” redact PDF files. While all of those other blog posts correctly explain the challenges that makes redacting PDF files difficult and outline all of the steps that one must take to ensure private information is completely and irreversibly redacted, all of those blog posts fail to mention one critical idea that anyone tasked with the important job of redacting electronic documents should be aware of -- automation.
I recently spent three days driving across the northern Midwestern States and through a good part of Canada with a longtime friend as we headed to a once-in-a-lifetime wilderness adventure. As you might imagine our conversations spanning those 72 hours took as many twists and turns as did the roads we traveled. However, one saying my friend repeated several times stood out among many insightful remarks he’d made, “Your judgement is only as good as your information.“
A consultant who supports analytics for population health and quality of care recently told me that frequently, they can only access 80% or less of the total data needed for these initiatives.
If that data is truly random and characteristic of the whole body of data, than acquiring 80% of it is pretty good, perhaps even great. But what if that 80% comes largely from one population sub-group. What if it represents patients who are local - city-dwellers who live nearby and come directly to your facility for lab work and other tests - while the missing 20% is a completely different population. Perhaps this 20% is defined differently by lifestyle, geography or other variables because that population cannot easily come to your facility?
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regulates laboratory testing performed on humans in the U.S. through the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) to ensure quality laboratory testing. CLIA sets high standards for quality control, validation of data and tests, equipment calibration, proper training and certification of users and clear end result reporting that meets proper lab data requirements.
You have successfully set up your outreach program and established a strong local presence (please check out my 4 previous posts on this topic). What now? In order to achieve sustainability, you will have pressures to improve efficiency, reduce costs and demonstrate value. It is important to have in place a methodology by which you track your activity from both a quantitative perspective as well as to be sure that the quality delivered matches the quality of your main program.
In our first three blogs of this series, we discussed how educational outreach can lead to opportunities to facilitate more effective patient care locally and strengthen relationships with referring providers. We have focused on the structure of these efforts; now we will focus on the provision of these services and how to differentiate your efforts from others to ensure your investment pays dividends.
In an article in Forbes business magazine today, Peter Ubel, begins to investigate the question of whether or not we should be striving for a world in which all transplant candidates should have access to LearJets so that they can place themselves on multiple waiting lists and have a greater chance of reaching the top of that list in time? No matter how you feel personally or professionally about this issue, an important point that he raises in the world of transplant is this: as technology (planes, drugs, etc.) improves and allows for greater possibilities of organs for a greater pool of candidates, how can we be sure that waitlists are always accurate and up to date.
You finally found the perfect solution to problem of getting data out of documents and into your EMR or other system. It’s a system that automates this data entry and the workflows surrounding the entire document handling and quality assurance processes. Now it’s time to go ask for permission (budget) to purchase this solution.
As we discussed in our first outreach blog, step one is to establish a relationship with a provider or a network of providers through education or other interactions. Once you’ve created this relationship, you will want to capitalize on the potential additional volume for your program and institution, as well as be able to continue to provide the outstanding service your program is known for. In order to do this, you must be able to make working with you seamless and easy, without increasing the actual or perceived burden to the organization’s patients.
The ultimate juggling act: clinical labs in a hospital setting are required to maintain the highest operational standards. They complete their own inpatient testing while managing the logistics of send-outs and the returning results from reference and specialty labs. No matter where it’s coming from, comprehensive data needs to get back to the ordering physician - data required to make the best care decisions.