Category Archive: LIS-to-EMR

Posted by mark on

Is your pathology lab executing a growth strategy? 

Have you hired a sales person or team to grow your specimen count? 

We talk to pathology groups daily that are at some point in the process of developing or executing a sales strategy.  They are either 1) attempting to grow their specimen count or 2) defending against larger laboratories with more resources.  To successfully compete, there are 3 items that laboratory sales people need to be armed with in the field:

1. Connectivity (and a lot of it!)

It is critical that a modern laboratory can offer a full menu of connectivity options.  Not every referring physician is looking for the same type of report delivery or consumption.  Also, some connectivity options are more expensive than others, and they need to be lined up with the business drivers associated with specimen volume and physician relationship.  For this reason, sales people need flexibility in this department.  Some of the connectivity “must haves” are online reports, on-demand faxing, remote  PDF transmission, remote printing, and EMR interfacing.  Check out some previous posts on FilePath, ReportPath and EMR interfacing.  These include some examples of connectivity options.

2. Sexy Reports

The lab report provides the image of the pathology group.  Generating reports that are marketable and physician friendly is critical to differentiating your practice.  Here is a previous post on lab branding and marketable reports.  Make sure your LIS lends itself to the development, customization and deployment of marketable reports.

3. Efficiency

The ability to add efficiency to the entire lab process can help sales people open up opportunities with referring physicians as well.  One example of this can be found in the ordering process.  Providing an online requisition system that 1)  fits into the ordering work flow of the physician office, 2) cuts down manual processes and duplicate data entry, and 3)  reduces the number of calls associated with the requisition process will open some doors.

If you are a lab sales person, consultant, pathologist or just someone interested in great healthcare, we would enjoy your comments.

Posted by mark on

Wow!  2011 was a great year for Pathagility with the addition of some great new clients and some exciting projects with our existing customer base.  We’ve been heads down in delivery mode.  As we turn our attention to 2012, we want to share some of the client experiences we’ve had over the past several months.  There were some great lessons learned, big efficiencies uncovered and exciting new products developed.  We hope some of these topics are helpful for you and we encourage your feedback, comments and suggestions.  Here are just a few of the topics we plan to cover…

process efficiency through bar coding

laboratory (LIS) access anywhere-starting a lab?

redefining your lab?

scalability – system needs from 0 to 60

online requisitions

remote printing increase sales through connectivity

Pathagility on-site server deployment

Who has the sexiest reports?

ACOs and laboratories

building sophisticated lab reports

EMR interface options

Differentiate your lab with LIS

Setup AP system for your workflow, not vice versa
 

That’s just a taste.  Look forward to your comments.  Here’s to a great 2012!

Posted by mark on

If you are a pathology group or laboratory, how do your referring physicians want to receive report information?

Fax? Web Portal? EMR interface?The answer is something along the lines of…”the way they ask for it, when they ask for it!”  Right?  To compete against the mega, commercial labs, pathology report distribution flexibility is essential.  Not only is it important to be able to provide this flexibility, but it is important to your bottom line that it is cost effective.  Below are three (3) ways to achieve this goal:

1) Make sure your LIS is designed to foster distribution flexibility.  If not, work with a vendor that can “overlay”  or replace your legacy system and provide the needed flexibility.

2) Utilize an integration engine  or an integration partner that will facilitate efficient EMR interfacing and keep costs in check on  your behalf.

3) Understand when an EMR interface is truly needed/justified or if other distribution options are more appropriate.  Check out a previous post on this topic.

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

In the March issue of CAP Today, Karen L. Wagner did an article on the changing middleware landscape called Middleware to “littleware”: vendors catering to smaller labs.  She notes three main forces behind the changes in this market in the past two years…

1.  ARRA
2.  Increased EHR adoption
3.  Middleware vendors start catering to smaller/physician owned labs

Pathagility’s own Mike Heckman was  interviewed for this article and discusses how we provide value to this market by working with other software/hardware vendors (LIS, EMR, instrument, etc.)  While Pathagility offers one of the only SaaS LIS (WorkPath) products in the market, we recognize that not all labs are looking for a replacement strategy but need to enhance their current environment to answer the connectivity call of their referring physicians.  Pathagility offers this smaller/physician-owned lab market all of the capabilities of the mega labs (LabCorp & Quest.)  We do this by providing our full suite of products and/or working with other software vendors.  We welcome these cooperative relationships.

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

Many pathology labs we talk with have purchased, developed and deployed FileMaker Pro database lab systems.  This seems even more true in smaller independent and hospital labs due to cost and ease of deployment factors.  We would like to hear from those of you that utilize FileMaker Pro.  Here are a few questions for you…

Overall, are you pleased with the flexibility this database environment provides you?

Have you run into scalability issues?  If so, at what point did this occur?

Did you develop your own FileMaker Pro lab system?

Are you using a FileMaker Pro system like AP Easy?

What do you view are the main positives of a FileMaker Pro system? Negatives?

We’ve seen a wide variety of opinions in our discussions with laboratories and pathology groups.  We have a great case study with UNC Nephropathology  where one of the pre-requisites was their ability to continue utilizing their custom  FileMakerPro system.  Also, we have worked with AP Easy (which is built on FileMaker Pro) to deliver web-based lab orders/results capability and EMR integration.  Here is a previous post on one of our mutual clients – BPMG Goes Live w/ Pathagility’s ReportPath.  Also, check out this post based on a discussion with a laboratory that feels they are approaching scalability issues with their FileMakerPro system – When you’ve outgrown FileMaker Pro.

We would like to hear your views on this topic.  If you would rather send an email instead of commenting, please send to info@pathagility.com.

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