One of the most critical elements of clinical practice is lab tests for diagnosis and patient monitoring. Most clinicians want an electronic interface that links their EHR directly to the laboratory or radiology department.
Apart from the cumbersome nature of paper-based lab orders, most of them are error-prone. According to a study, a well-implemented electronic lab interface can cut lab errors by up to 90%.
A bidirectional interface between a physician’s EHR and the laboratory LIS can make ordering and reporting seamless. It reduces pre-analytic and post-analytic errors, response times, and operational costs.
For your organization to enjoy these and other benefits, here are some features to look out for in a new EHR-lab interface.
1. Convenient Electronic Ordering
Manual paper-based lab test ordering has always been cumbersome and time-consuming. And now that physicians spend their workday in front of their PCs, creating diagnostic tests on paper seems even more awkward.
With a user-friendly lab interface, your clinicians can order lab tests while working on a patient’s chart. Some robust interfaces also allow users to create a list of frequently used labs or order several tests and diagnostic images at once.
All the patient’s information is automatically transferred accurately from the patient’s demographic data in the EHR.
2. Electronic Reporting of Results
Most lab interfaces for EHRs are bi-directional. That means the orders and result reports are sent electronically.
In most cases, as long as the lab has an HL7 compatible LIS, a bi-directional interface can be created from the EHR. Two-way electronic communication eliminates the need to fax results and improves accuracy and response times. Also, clinicians no longer need to file and scan results sent by fax.
3. Instant Patient Notification
Today, patients want to see their test results even before the test is conducted. On their mobile devices, they can access a patient portal where they communicate regularly with their physician.
Posting test results to a patient portal relieves admin staff and nurses of the burden of answering unnecessary phone calls and explaining the test results by phone.
4. Effective Results Tracking
Apart from the patient chart’s ordering module on the EHR, a lab interface should also have a dashboard or portal for viewing all test results. The interface can also send reminders to patients and providers about upcoming tests. Automatic reminders will reach those concerned on their mobile devices and save your staff countless hours on the phone annually.
5. Connectivity With Diagnostic Machines
What happens when you don’t want to send lab test orders to an external lab? Your lab interface must have a way to communicate with diagnostic machines at your facility.
A well-designed interface engine can help you build interfaces that will automate the retrieval of results from your lab or imaging machines using HL7 protocols. The results will highlight high, normal, or critical results and make it easy for clinicians to analyze the results.
Build an Effective Lab Interface to Your EHR for Better Care Outcomes
For a demo of a robust lab interface that can link up with all the major EHR/EMR systems in use today, give us a call at 877.522.8378. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation to discuss all your interoperability needs.