Most large healthcare providers now use an electronic lab ordering system. Electronic lab orders reduce transcription errors, enhance physicians’ productivity, and increase turnaround time. However, not all test ordering systems are efficient and easy to use. Here are the six essential features to look for when choosing a suitable lab ordering system for your organization or practice.
1. Efficient Test Tracking
When test orders are sent by paper, tracking them by phone or email can be arduous. Physicians have to keep tabs on the status of tests manually, and this can become burdensome for doctors who are already overstretched.
That’s why your lab ordering system must have an interface for tracking test results with ease. The list of tests should contain their status with abnormal values flagged automatically.
2. Ordering Templates
Many physicians order specific tests more frequently than others. With ordering templates, such tests can be selected within a few clicks.
An ordering system with a template feature allows you to create and save shared templates that the entire practice can use. Templates will automatically populate test orders, reducing the time spent processing each order.
3. Analytics and Reporting Tools
Modern lab ordering systems have analytics tools to reveal trends. They also offer attractive data visualizations that allow you to spot abnormalities quickly.
With analytics tools, it is possible to query the EHR or LIS to see trends in a patient’s test results or trends in a particular type of test. For instance, historic lab results can reveal whether there’s a general increase in patients’ average blood sugar levels over a specific timeframe.
Test ordering involves both online and offline tasks. The patient’s details will be retrieved from the EHR. And the specimens will be obtained from the patient by a clinical assistant or in the laboratory.
Your lab ordering system should have communication tools built into it. Sending a message to collaborate with a colleague on a patient’s lab test should be done securely with a few clicks. Such communication can be attached to the order for further reference.
5. Link to Patient Portal
Patients can be informed about tests ordered, labs to visit, and test results via the ordering system. As soon as a test is ordered, the patient will receive a message with information about the lab location.
After the patient completes the test and the results are sent electronically, the patient can view them through the patient portal. Doctors can also explain the results, so the patient understands the meaning of the figures released by the lab.
6. Connection to Large Regional Lab Network
Access to an extensive network of labs allows you to select one that is close to and convenient for each patient. An ordering system with hundreds of reference labs enables you to choose a lab that does not have many pending orders. That way, you can avoid delays and get the results in faster.
Selecting the right lab ordering system for your practice can transform it, enabling you to deliver more efficient care at a lower cost. For more advice about choosing or developing an effective ordering system, consult an electronic health record specialist.
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