It is no secret that pathology groups are fielding calls from their referring physicians, hospitals, and healthcare partners to build EMR interfaces. Check out our previous post Impact of EMR adoption on the Pathology Lab. The first impact that we noted in that post is labs must spend $ on LIS-to-EMR interfacing. We also note that this means hiring adequate IT resources to deliver on the increasing interface volumes. If you are a pathology group that has decided to look at an LIS-to-EMR partner instead of hiring internally, another good post to review is 6 Factors: Choosing LIS-to-EMR Partner.
Recently, we’ve had discussions with numerous pathology practices that are getting those calls from their referring physicians but are concerned about the cost. This concern is definitely warranted. An example we talked with last week was a small independent path lab that provides services to a local hospital. The hospital requested that the lab build an electronic lab results interface to their new EMR system. Just like most small independent path groups, this practice takes pride in the level of service they provide and attempt to answer any client need. The issue is volume. Currently they may do only a handful of cases a week for the hospital, so the thousands they would have to spend to deliver an interface is hard for them to justify. It’s a business decision.
So, what are groups like this going to do? It will be important for these pathology groups to work closely with their referring physicians to make exchanging lab data and reports as convenient as possible. That may mean providing secure online access to this information in the short term. It will be important that these groups invest in a system platform that provides them flexibility and interoperability options as the needs of their referring physicians change over time. Finding a trusted technology partner that understands this environment will be a lot of help to these groups as well.
Let us know if you are hearing similar stories…