When Joe Trevino says that he understands the challenges of a laboratory manager’s daily routine – financial, staffing, technology and customers – he really does. With over 27 years of experience in the laboratory field as a manager, owner and consultant, Joe brings an unparalleled level of empathy and understanding to a meeting with any lab or imaging center director.
In this first in a series of blogs introducing some of the dedicated individuals responsible for laboratory and imaging center outreach, we sat down with Joe to discuss the complex processes of connecting a lab or imaging center to physician practice customers using OpenText™ EMR-Link™.
What is a top-of-mind concern for all hospital-based or independent lab managers today?
Financial resources are always a common concern, but when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the release of its final rule, implementing section 216(a) of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA), laboratories learned exactly how much their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement would decrease over the years. With reimbursement rates dropping 10% in 2018, 10% in 2019 and another 10% in 2020, lab directors and managers are looking for ways to shore up revenue, find efficiencies in their processes, and recoup every dollar by ensuring clean orders.
I remember from my time as a lab owner and manager, I was also concerned about finding quality staff as the medical technician workforce began shrinking. I did not want these areas to affect my ability to serve my customers and their patients.
If hospital-based and independent lab managers must find ways to reduce costs, how can they justify an outreach program that requires staff support, technical knowledge and time to educate connected clinics?
It is important to evaluate a potential solution carefully to ensure that it does provide the return on investment that includes FTE savings, rapid claim payment turnaround, and revenue from new sources – physicians and clinics not previously in the hospital lab network.
This is where the expertise that I and the other members of the EMR-Link team bring to the table is beneficial. We can integrate the clinic or physician practice with the lab’s system to provide clear, accurate transmission of orders and results. Our team members have helped labs connect to all types of EMRs for large and small clinics, as well as acute care and long-term care facilities so we know how to create a seamless integration.
We can make lab managers’ lives easier, by helping automate manual order intake procedures which reduces FTE time spent in the lab and billing intake process. Significant efficiencies can be seen particularly in billing and claims management, because orders are cleaner, claims are paid more quickly with few to no denials to investigate.
Why is integration such an important facet of the lab outreach program?
The ability to submit orders and send results electronically removes a lot of the manual processes traditionally used between labs and clinics. Eliminating multiple manual entries of information also eliminates the potential for mistakes, which improves the quality of service as well as receipt of payments.
Smart features built into EMR-Link also prompt staff at the clinic to fill in missing information or double check a code based on specific requirements of different insurers. This means a more accurate, complete and validated order, which streamlines the process for everyone.
What is your advice to labs and imaging centers looking to build a strong outreach program?
Start with one practice first, and then add more as it makes sense. You will see the value and efficiencies grow as you connect more and more practices into your outreach program. Expanding the hospital’s reach into the community is not just a source of additional revenue or a way to improve costs, but it strengthens the health system’s ties to physicians, clinics and patients that it might not have reached before. EMR-Link gives hospital-based and independent labs the support and tools it needs to compete with large, reference labs and to provide a valuable, quality service to community physicians and clinics.
Stay tuned for our next interviews where you’ll hear from a development owner for EMR and lab integration and a director of implementation – all critical roles that ensure a seamless, effective integration and CPOE for labs, imaging centers and their outreach customers.