One of the keys to a successful partnership supporting lab integration, CPOE (Computerized Physician Order Entry) and lab outreach is having a solution provider who truly understands the lab’s operations and challenges. Leslie Tucker, Director of Implementation and Customer Support for OpenText™ EMR-Link™, understands healthcare IT challenges. Her experience as in-house IT staff for physician practices means that she has seen first-hand the importance of technology that fits into workflows to help rather than hinder productivity for both the physician and the lab or imaging center.
We sat down with Leslie to discuss how her team applies best practices and deep EMR experience to ensure EMR-Link lab and imaging center customers experience high quality and thorough planning, implementation, testing and ongoing support, and how they minimize downtime or workflow impacts during the process.
How does the implementation team work with the outreach manager?
We provide the project road map for the diagnostic outreach program manager because they usually don’t know all that is required to build an interface between their department and the different EMRs used by each physician practice. We start with an assessment process to ensure we understand all the specifics for their lab or imaging center and their clinic network. We review and validate the lab rules and requirements, to be certain we start building the solution with the best information, and then coordinate proper handoff of compendiums and all business rules to our development team, so our initial lab kit and its mapping rules can be built.
After the lab kit is created, we orchestrate and oversee a number of testing cycles to make sure that all electronic orders and results are transmitted and displayed in the lab system and EMR correctly before going live. All of the tests are run behind the scenes, so the current workflow is not disrupted. We also make sure we are in constant communication with the lab and their connecting customers to be sure they are aware of project status. When everything has been fully tested, the clinics are connected and can go live with minimal interference in the physician’s workflow.
What happens after implementation?
My team continues to work with the outreach manager to add new clinics, make adjustments as needed to update information, change business rules, or add functionality. This is an ongoing relationship because we are constantly monitoring the process and looking for ways to improve the process of ordering lab or imaging tests for both entities – the hospital-based lab as well as the physician offices.
What sets the EMR-Link implementation team apart from other vendors?
My team is unique among similar vendors because we provide one owner who coordinates all of the different steps related to implementation but also for ongoing operations supporting the overall relationship. This means that the outreach manager always knows who to call – their coordinator – no matter what the question, request or need. This is a huge benefit to the outreach manager, who is juggling a multitude of responsibilities and does not have time to track down the right person. But this also offers peace of mind to the diagnostic team because they don’t have to manage or worry about the integration work or the CPOE solution. We handle it all for them.
Why does outsourcing integration for outreach programs make sense for hospital lab and imaging departments?
There are several reasons the EMR-Link team can become a valuable partner.
- Staff resources are limited in labs and imaging centers
- The staff that is in place and able to take on outreach responsibilities don’t have the skill set and experience needed to connect their diagnostic center to physician EMRs
- Hospital IT staff is often not available for ongoing support to connect clinics because their priorities change frequently based on needs of the hospital, which means they can’t always be available to integrate a new outreach client’s EMR with the lab in a timely manner
What value does EMR-Link bring to outreach programs and does it differ based on healthcare organization size?
The size of the lab or imaging center doesn’t matter. We can support any provider. In fact, the larger the lab or imaging center, the more they may need our help, because their network of clinics can be broader and more diverse making their jobs more difficult. Regardless of size, we provide the technical expertise to support the outreach manager and outreach sales team to free their time to focus on their core responsibilities and areas of expertise. The individual consultant, guidance through the process, testing and validation, and years of experience with EMRs and hundreds of labs position us to provide a high level of support for a successful single connection or a full outreach program.