Category Archive: Interoperability

Posted by kyle on

Your lab is growing and the demand on your staff to print reports and fax is taking up more of their time.  You don’t want to change your workflow process because everyone knows what is expected of them and they are comfortable working with your current LIS.  You would like to electronically deliver reports and use a fax service but your legacy system does not have those features.

Can that be added without changing our LIS?    Yes.

Take a look at how Pathagility helped UNC leverage their existing Filemaker Pro based LIS to deliver web-based reports and faxes.  For questions about how Pathagility can help your lab add these features, order entry, custom reporting, and EMR interfacing email info@pathagility.com or call (888) 222-2792

 

Posted by kyle on

We received a call from one of our lab customers requesting a results only interface for one of their referring physicians.  The referring physician has sent only a small volume of cases to the lab, and the cost from the EMR vendor alone would make the cost of an interface unjustifiable.  The referring physician group was under the impression that an interface was required by the new healthcare mandates.  The buzz around federal reimbursement dollars for medical practices under the ARRA (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) has created some confusion.   Keep in mind, that a full results only EMR interface is not the only option to satisfy the electronic results requirement.  Parsing fact from fiction is not easily done, and physicians are not always getting honest answers from vendors.  That’s not to say that there isn’t good information available and being communicated, but many times in trying to close a sale, vendors may be muddying the waters.  On more than one occasion, it has been left to us to educate not only our lab partners, but their referring physician groups on what an interface does, is, and what the costs are.  If you are a referring physician, an interface (results only or results and orders interface) from the lab may be what is required, often times all that is needed is to receive results and satisfy the electronic results requirement. We provide EMR interfaces for our customers and are certainly not opposed to them.  We just want to make that our customers know all the facts and we deliver exactly what they need.   In the case described above Pathagility’s ReportPath product fit the bill and was just what the doctor ordered.

Ask questions from your vendor, make sure you are not just getting upsold, and that you are getting exactly what you want and need for your practice.  Avoid being shoe-horned into what works for someone else.  At Pathagility we focus on offering products like ReportPath that work alongside and seamlessly with other systems, and strive to deliver and  communicate with our partners before, during, and throughout our relationship.

Posted by mark on

Last week I attended a formal, non-Pathagility  related event where we were seated randomly with individuals with varying backgrounds.  Among the group at my table was an investment broker, a restaurant chain owner, a non-profit director, and clinician at a pediatric practice.   The clinician (Kathy – for the sake of this post) and I were seated next to one another, and after discussing our work/organization backgrounds, we had a fascinating conversation about EMRs and lab interfacing. 

Following are some of the interesting perspectives taken from our conversation:

*It is always interesting to see and hear a physician’s or clinician’s response when the topic of EMR comes up.  Kathy’s first response was one of frustration even though it was evident that she saw the benefits of their moving forward with digitizing their current manual processes.

*Kathy’s clinic changed lab providers because one offered to build an interface to their EMR

*Kathy was frustrated with the length of time the Lab-to-EMR interface project was taking.  She didn’t know what was taking so long or what party was the bottleneck.  She assumed that it is very difficult technically to “make two different systems talk.”

*While Kathy has been a fan of their EMR vendor, she talked a lot about it being evident that this lab interface project was not a priority for their EMR. 

*Kathy also talked about “black holes” of communication

It was interesting to talk through Kathy’s perspective and it reemphasises the main key to projects like these – good communication.   It sounds simple, but doesn’t appear to be the norm.  Setting expectations is important including discussing each parties motivations.  In talking with Kathy, we discussed that the motivation of the lab was to earn/retain her clinic’s business.  They are paying for the interface including any expense/labor outside the work of the EMR team.  Certainly the EMR vendor wants to keep their client happy as well, but these projects add to an already large scope of responsibility.  Oh and by the way, there are a lot of these projects in progress and on the horizon!  (Our company has worked with Kathy’s EMR vendor and they were actually one of the more efficient at these types of projects. )

The bottom line is that Kathy is looking for consistent communication throughout the project.  While some systems are harder to connect than others from a technical perspective, that is not typically the issue with lab-to-emr interface projects if you have capable people involved.  For this reason, many labs and EMR vendors look to middleware companies who can focus on these projects and can provide a complimentary level of service and communication. 

Is this a common story from your perspective?

What are some other keys to successful lab interface projects? 

Who do you think is really good at managing projects like these?

Posted by mark on

For Christmas, Santa brought me an iPad (which I thought was very cool by the way!)  I’ve been living vicariously through friends and business associates who were early adopters.  Now that I have one and it is fully integrated into my daily life, I’ve started picturing how a device like this might be useful in the industry we are in.  For instance, while our organization’s web-based application works very well with an iPad, what other apps can we develop to make life better for our laboratory and physician clients and ultimately help improve patient care?

If I’m honest, another thought that pops into my consumer mind is, “how will the iPad2 compare with my current iPad ?”  Should I have waited to buy?  Will the price drop soon?  When is the right time to invest in new technology – really?

Many healthcare providers face similar questions related to investing in electronic health systems (EHR, EMR, RIS, LIS, etc.)  When should I invest in a new system?  Once an EMR is in place, is life going to be simpler?  Before building interfaces, should we wait until HIEs are a little more mature?  At what point do we invest in an interface engine?  What is needed for Meaningful Use (MU)?

These are just a few of the questions in an industry that seems very messy and complicated today.   Combine that with the fact that standing still is probably not the right move – buyers’ anxiety can sneak in.  While we wait for new innovations and movements to make things simpler, here are 3 things to hang your hat on in the mean time as you make technology investment decisions.

1.  Invest in systems and people that truly understand the importance of efficient integration
2.  Invest in systems that are flexible in architecture
3.  Invest in systems that have the capability to continually change and improve quickly (SaaS philosophy)

Always enjoy comments…

Posted by mark on

Normally we stay away from posts that are this Pathagility product focused, but every once in a while we just can’t help ourselves!  We are proud of our ReportPath product/service and continue to recognize lots of application for it. 

ReportPath provides pathology laboratories and healthcare providers an integrated, web-based solution for storing, managing and distributing report data without purchasing a new LIS. Referring physicians have secure web-based access to multi-channel ordering and resulting options. ReportPath can integrate with a single LIS or be the outreach tool for multiple disparate healthcare systems. It offers a marketable way for pathology groups to collaborate with healthcare partners and clients through a fully customizable portal.

A few of the features include…

Requisitions
Advanced search capabilities
Document storage and archiving
Multi-channel distribution (web, fax, email)
Email alerts
SMS / text alerts

Check out a previous post that discusses a ReportPath implementation with an AP Easy system environment – BPMG Goes Live/Pathagility’s ReportPath.  Also, within this post you’ll find a ReportPath case study.

We would  like to hear your opinion of this type of SaaS product offering – positive or negative??  Leave comments!  Thanks!

Also, if you would like to learn more about ReportPath or demo the product email info@pathagility.com.

Posted by mark on

More than 140,000 industry professionals attended the CES11 in Las Vegas last week.  Following up on our post Top gadgets at CES 2011 and impact on healthcare, check out this slide show via HealthcareITNews called Healthcare gadgets at CES11.  The slideshow shows 5 healthcare gadgets featured last week and here’s a summary…

1.  digital microscope
2.  biometric fingerprint reader
3.  FDA approved patient provider communication device
4.  FDA approved video conferencing
5.  Windows-based tablet that enables caregivers to assist remotely

Posted by mark on

Check out this Newsbyte in the latest issue of CAP Today by Dr. Raymond Aller entitled, Interface workarounds offer fixes for common issuesIn it, Dr. Aller refers to a few issues that arise in order-entry and results reporting interface processes between hospital or regional labs and their reference labs.  Here are the issues he outlines…

1.  Proper communication with public health agencies
2.  Specimen received confirmation
3.  Ability of hospital or regional laboratory to display complex reports

What are some of the other issues you’ve run in to?

Posted by mark on

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Computer Electronics Show (CES) 2011 in Las Vegas.  For those that are not techno geeks or gadget happy, this is one of the largest trade shows in the world.  It is an annual event that is packed full of new product hype and demos. 

Even though CES is not focused on healthcare, it is an interesting peak at some of the technologies and gadgets that may potentially play a role in patient care in the future.  Here are a couple of items you may want to keep your eye on…

Tablets everywhere

In the past several months, the iPad has been a big winner and is shining a bright light on the tablet market.  This may be the most talked about category at CES 2011 with several Android and Microsoft tablets launching.  Interestingly enough and in Apple fashion, they will not be in attendance at CES 2011 but their presense will be felt with the anticipation of the iPad 2. 

As consumer hype rises in the tablet market, does this mean that tablets will be incorporated more into healthcare?  If so, will Apple’s iPad use its early advantage to build healthcare market share or will you see more specialized tablets running Android or Microsoft?  Examples of iPad use in healthcare are starting to pop up.  Here’s one – iPad in practice: Applying the Apps

What are some real world examples of how new tablets can make patient care better??

4G

Verizon’s CEO is scheduled to open up Thursday morning with a keynote that should include information on its 4G Network and what that will mean for its customers.  There will be lots of 4G devices unveiled at CES.  Again, Apple will be casting a shadow on CES 2011 because of the anticipated arrival of the Verizon iPhone. 

What will be the impact of more device options on faster networks for patient care? 

BTW, there will be a bunch of new gadgets and technologies that may have nothing to do with healthcare but are just plain cool.   There will be information sources everywhere about CES 2011, but here is a quick link to comprehensive updates on the show – cnet ces 2011

Posted by mark on

Happy New Year!

Check out this great presentation by Dr. Bruce Friedman called Integrated Diagnostics: The perspective of the pathologist.  In it, Dr. Friedman defines Integrated dx, discusses the benefits of merging multiple reporting areas of diagnostics, and outlines the challenges of actually pulling this lofty goal off. 

In summary, Dr. Friedman states that it is unlikely that there will be integrated dx systems (LIS+RIS+PACS) on the market in the near term due to lack of demand; however, in the short term Web-based dx tools will be developed and interfaced with Legacy LIS, RIS, PACS and EMR systems to gain a integrated dx view for better, more efficient patient care.

We certainly agree with this perspective and refer to it as “Friendly.”    Friendly in our world means systems architecture with interoperability in mind. 

What are your thoughts on Integrated dx?

Posted by mark on

Should Pathologists Meet with Patients?  It’s an interesting question.  If you haven’t already, read this CAP Today article by Karen Titus about Melinda Lewis, MD called When pathologists meet patients—lessons from one FNA practice.

Wow, this article may sway your opinion.  Here is a quick exert…

“Emotionally, this can take a toll. “In the laboratory, looking at an organ, you may be detached from what the patient is going through. So when you come face to face with it, it can be draining,” Dr. Lewis says. But even then, there’s an upside. “The patient is so relieved to know what’s going on, it trumps any emotions you might have,” she says.”