Category Archive: Toxicology

Posted by Teresa Becker on

You know just about everything there is to know about your lab. You understand the technology you use and how it works, you know each member of your staff and the roles they play, you know backwards and forwards all of the tests your lab equipment can read, and you can predict what TaT times are for each hour of the day. But for just a moment as you’re reading this post, forget everything you know about your medical lab. While you’re reading this post, you’re the patient. You’re the one that went to the your family physician and had important tests done earlier this week – blood work to determine why your body hasn’t been functioning properly the last couple months and why your medicines are reacting the way they are. You’re uneasy about the results, your family keeps asking if you’ve heard anything, and you’re anxious to get the tests back, whatever answers they may hold. You just want to know, and you want to feel better.

This scenario is an everyday occurrence for thousands of patients across the nation each day who have tests performed, for whatever the reasons may be. And they count on a series of events happening efficiently and effectively so they can determine what’s next, with the help of their referring physician.

Your lab, no matter your specialty, plays an integral role in the patient experience, whether you have direct interaction with the patient or not. So what can your lab do to directly improve the patient experience? Here are 3 ways:

  • Provide Referring Physicians or Groups With Intuitive Information

Your referring physicians see upwards of 10 patients a day – often times, even more than that. Because their time is in such demand, the more readable your reports and intuitive your data and results, the better your referring physicians will be able to help the patient. As a lab, you can create beautiful, easy to interpret reports by using a LIMS system like Pathagility that can help your lab determine the types of tests and reports you need and help determine the algorithms to process the interpretive reporting. Remember: the better the reports, the better the diagnosis or recommendation, and the more satisfied (and healthier!) the patient.

  • Improve Turnaround Times (TaTs) of Lab Tests

There’s nothing worse than getting lab work done and not hearing results back for days or weeks on end. What’s worse, when a patient calls their physician to find out, they are told they don’t have an answer and aren’t sure when they’ll hear. As a patient, you can relate to the frustration and fear that creates in the patient.

For your lab, you play an enormous part in improving this step in the patient experience, and ensuring all systems are integrated across your lab is a key element. As a lab executive, you need a central laboratory reporting solution (such as a LIMS) that will adapt across any type of test, device or laboratory. In addition, today’s advanced labs need a platform that can easily integrate with other existing systems such as EMRs, LIMS, billing systems, lab instruments, and middleware to ensure that all data is available in one single, secure location.

How does this affect the patient experience? When all lab data is stored in a central environment, it allows lab staff to act quickly and with supreme accuracy when creating reports or compiling data for referring physicians or groups. With fewer interruptions, lab staff can stay focused on the important tasks before them and ensure they are delivering the best information back to the referring physician or group, and thereby helping to answer the patient’s questions sooner and with more accuracy.

  • Create an Environment Where Everyone’s Voice is Heard

While you or your peers may oversee the entirety of lab operations and be responsible for quality and other measures, often times technicians and others working in the lab have firsthand insight into processes that can be optimized. In a lab where preciseness, quality, efficiency, volume, and timing all matter greatly, it’s important to find every area across lab operations that can be improved. And what better place to look for guidance than your employees?

Lab technicians, operations managers, and others in your lab may have valuable opinions and reasons to suggest new ways for your lab to do business. For example, perhaps one of your technicians notices that a step is being repeated and isn’t necessary. Or maybe the reports are created by your reporting solution, but aren’t delivered to the referring physician in the most timely manner. By allowing every lab employee to speak up and raise concerns or suggestions, you are empowering your lab staff, and thereby improving the end results for both referring physicians, as well as patients. And maybe even your lab’s own bottom line.

Without exception, labs should strive to ensure the patient remains the primary focus above all else, with the absolute goal of delivering premier care.

For more information on how your lab can gain complete control, check out these recent Pathagility resources:

The Evolution of the Lab

3 Ways Tox Labs Are Innovating

How Top PGx Labs Are Utilizing Tech – and How to Keep Up

To learn more about how Pathagility can help your lab establish best practices, request a 30-minute demo.

Posted by Teresa Becker on

According to a recent article on AACC, each year, approximately 4 million patients experience some kind of overdose or chemical reaction to a substance – whether intended or not – and 25% of those patients enter the healthcare setting to be evaluated for toxicity. The results from toxicology testing shape diagnosis and treatment decisions, so it’s safe to say tox specialties are a critical part of lab testing in today’s modern world.

One of the keys to staying competitive in today’s toxicology market is finely tuned service to referring physicians or clients, as well as operational efficiency. A physician or client’s concerns about turnaround times, requests for reflex testing, or questions about results can be challenging to respond to quickly and to the satisfaction of the client. Fortunately, today’s tox lab managers have access to the tools they need to drive process improvement and provide data and reports with hard facts and in an information-based manner.

Advanced lab technology can help tox labs be more responsive to referring physicians or clients, which in today’s competitive marketplace can be a game changer. Today’s advanced labs are utilizing these technologies to acquire a real-time snapshot of what their test volumes and test types are, as well as create efficient and detailed reporting on case types and results. These technologies assist everyone involved, from the administrative, technical, and sales/marketing departments, so they can actually see what is occurring and how it compares to the goals of the lab.

The most important challenge in tox testing today is not the identification of every chemical that labs are technologically capable of detecting, but to do medically necessary and accurate testing for those drugs that are most likely to impact clinical decisions. The major need today is the wider and smarter use of the currently available drug testing technologies and practices. Here are 3 ways tox labs are innovating through the use of technology.

1. Improved Reporting

Tox lab data can be integrated into many electronic medical records that provide “summary reports” and “trends” to visualize patient data. However, these generic reports are not sufficient to manage complex tests or reporting that advanced labs increasingly require.

While there are many ways to improve output for physicians and increase the value a lab can provide, one way to  immediately impact value is to streamline reporting and increase the number of tests and case types that a lab’s reporting software can handle.

Advanced tox labs need the ability to adapt to changing technology and provide interpretive reporting across existing and emerging tests. Platforms like Pathagility – which can serve as a lab’s LIMS or Interpretive Reporting Software – or both, can dramatically increase the output while simplifying reporting.

2. More Efficient Turnaround Time (TAT)

Innovative labs are committed to leveraging new technology to help their teams work smarter, faster, and communicate better – both for the benefit of the lab, as well as the patient experience. These labs need complete visibility and improved communication across their workflows and processes, which inevitably improve turnaround time.

Labs currently using multiple systems independently should consider consolidating technologies to allow for greater efficiency and communication across all lab technology. Platforms like Pathagility can be set-up as a stand-alone LIMS or work in conjunction with existing systems to make all data visible in one location.

3. Integration of Lab Tech

Tox labs need to deliver reports and lab tests electronically, reliably, and efficiently to referring physicians or clients, all in a timely and affordable manner. Delivering in a competitive market is essential – especially when the patient’s well being is at stake.

In addition, labs need to gain the agility and control to deliver critical information on their terms and time schedule, connecting any device, software, and people – whether physicians, lab staff, or patient – with no barriers. Advanced labs are running their business in the cloud, with platforms that integrate across all technologies.

Today’s advanced labs need a platform that can easily integrate with their existing systems and interpret data from existing EMRs, LIMS, billing systems, lab instrumentation, and middleware systems; while affording them flexibility to report through multiple channels.

How is your tox lab innovating? Does your current technology allow your lab to meet your needs, without adding manual work?

For more information on how your lab can gain complete control, check out these recent Pathagility resources:

The Evolution of the Lab

Pathagility: Built For the Lab of Today

To learn more about how Pathagility can help your tox lab can keep up with the changing technology landscape, request a 30-minute demo.