When it comes to hospital laboratory outreach solutions, it’s not just about accurate test results and clean orders. Hospitals use lab outreach programs to enable marketing and selling of testing and other lab services to local physician practices or other providers. Today, labs can provide additional value to both physicians and patients by becoming a trusted source of information—but much of this depends on the lab outreach system you’re using.
The Electronic Health Records jungle
From a lab perspective, you want to offer the highest level of service regardless of the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) choices of your customers. The lab outreach system you select to support your program should support any Electronic Health Record (EHR) or EMR so that you can quickly connect to any physician or clinic and help them navigate their selected EMRs – while also accommodating clinics that are not yet using an EMR.
Most importantly, the system must securely and effectively handle the transmission and receipt of orders and results between lab and customer. While it’s fair to say that most systems adequately return results, providing an orders workflow that will be adopted by the clinic remains a challenge for many outreach systems. Ensuring that all the correct billing and ordering rules are complied with – eliminating errors, callback and reimbursement problems–is essential for the business and can enhance ROI.
Here are some outreach and lab integration approaches in use.
Integration engines offer basic functionality for the routing and reformatting of orders and results. However, they often lack the capabilities to ensure an order contains required clinical content, like fasting or collection method, and necessary business information such as justifying diagnoses, required insurance, auth code, etc.
Lab portals were created specifically to solve all the problems of clean orders and timely and readable results. But most physician groups have chosen EMRs as the cockpit for all patient care, and they want their orders created in the EMR. If the lab portal works outside the EMR, it adds time and management overhead to their workflow. For example, a large clinic that needs to send tests to many labs, based on test type or patient insurance, can easily find it has to work with numerous different portals.
Most lab middleware solutions emerged as lab portal vendors evolved their solutions to offer a more comprehensive set of capabilities. If adopted in the clinic, by the on-site phlebotomist for instance, they can deliver ABN checks and AOE completion. But, there’s the potential for information discrepancies between systems as these elements aren’t handled within the EMR. And in some cases, the higher value services, like patient-friendly reports, are only available through the middleware vendor’s portal, which is also outside of the clinic’s EMR system.
End-to-end lab outreach platforms
End-to-end lab outreach solutions – such as OpenText™ EMR-Link™ – not only provide the full clinic integration for the lab, but they integrate directly into the physician’s EMR workflow, achieving the tightest possible orders and results integration between any EMR and your lab. Where this embedded integration is in place, orders are automatically checked for medical necessity within the EMR. And orders route to the right lab based on insurance, or test type. The entire clinic sees the efficiencies which encourages that much-needed physician adoption.
Patient-friendly results and personalized treatment
Physicians aren’t the only ones looking for value from the laboratory. Value-based care is not only focused on the value delivered, but also on patient-centricity and positive healthcare experiences. It’s important that your lab can provide patient-friendly reports and the assistance to help physicians and patients interpret the results. Patients are demanding not just results that a layman can understand but increased speed and transparency to know they are receiving value for their health care dollar.
By taking on the role of information provider, lab outreach can better meet the evolving needs of physicians and patients. They can help to identify the most effective testing protocol and interpret the results accurately to enable the development of personalized treatment plans that can improve patient outcomes.
OpenText EMR-Link connects labs to any clinic EMR, to clinics still charting on paper, and also provides a portal for any nurse, phlebotomist, currier, or lab tech involved in the order-result workflow. With only a single connection to your lab, EMR-Link is positioned to handle the connections to any and all ordering physicians. To find out more about EMR-Link and how it can support your lab outreach program, visit our website.