March 31, 2020 - by Parul Saini, Webmedy team
One of the notable difficulties faced by doctors today is giving managing Lab Orders electronically. Some doctors who have embraced Electronic Health Records (EHR) find that they do not have an automated lab ordering capability in their system.
Despite notable improvements in diagnostic testing and technologies, the old-fashioned method of ordering and getting laboratory results is one that's riddled with wastefulness and multiple times of failure. Usually, physicians are required to create a paper-based lab order form and fax it to the lab or key the order data into the particular lab's web portal. This workflow introduces a lag in the lab test ordering process, increases the chance of errors and missing information, which can have an adverse impact on the patient, clinic, and lab.
In today's healthcare practice, most providers are still filing lab test orders through the paper. For the laboratory, this indicates that a dedicated unit of people must enter this data into a LIS. It is generally expected that data entered into a machine typically results in about an 8% error rate, pointing to more obstacles and raised costs to the business. EHR platforms with integrated electronic laboratory ordering reduce this cost by transmitting the data straight into the LIS system.
EHR platforms with integrated electronic lab ordering can:
Electronic lab orders slash down on mistakes simply by being combined into a laboratory's LIS, with no further human input needed. These orders are likely far more logical than paper forms; there is no writing to read, and there are no changes in the kind of data submitted from provider to provider.
There are however numerous challenges. For example, inadequate lab results can introduce almost as many obstacles as imperfect human input since laboratories frequently face fragmented ways to how data is sent from different EHR systems. Mixing with systems that don't give the correct data can cost the laboratory more time and cash attempting to recover the data from the doctor and re-inputting the accurate data into the LIS.
When the EHR automates most of the data involved in a lab order, the physician has to do only some things to define additional information required, decreasing the possibility of failure upfront. The EHR can add extra functionality to assure that human error on the part of the physician is avoided, such as blocking the wrong labs or duplicate labs from being posted.
The greatest possible gains for usability and effectiveness in EHR lab orders are yet to come, for both the physicians and the patient. Clinical decision support can give doctors real-time warnings and direction about which tests are needed for their patient group. For example, patients with specific vitals and early diagnoses might be the best candidates to get a glucose test for diabetes. For both the doctor and the laboratory, the time used on communications can be reduced with real-time updates to the EHR.