CEO SUMMARY: With each passing year, the primary role of hospital and health system labs evolves in a different direction than that of independent lab companies. This trend is a response to the creation of integrated delivery networks paid on value and how they are scored on their ability to keep patients out of hospitals
Tag: Electronic health record (EHR)Skip to articles
An electronic health record (EHR) is a digital version of a patient’s paper chart. EHRs are real-time, patient-centered digital medical records that make information available instantly and securely to authorized users. While an EHR does contain the medical and treatment histories of patients, an EHR system is built to go beyond standard clinical data collected in a provider’s office and can be inclusive of a broader view of a patient’s care.
Contain a patient’s medical history, diagnoses, medications, treatment plans, immunization dates, allergies, radiology images, and laboratory and test results
Allow access to evidence-based tools that providers can use to make decisions about a patient’s care
Automate and streamline provider workflow
One of the key features of an EHR is that health information can be created and managed by authorized providers in a digital format capable of being shared with other providers across more than one health care organization. EHRs are built to share information with other health care providers and organizations – such as clinical laboratories, specialists, medical imaging centers, pharmacies, emergency facilities, and school and workplace clinics – so they contain information from all clinicians involved in a patient’s care.
According to HealthIT.gov, “A greater and more seamless flow of information within a digital health care infrastructure, created by electronic health records (EHRs), encompasses and leverages digital progress and can transform the way care is delivered and compensated. With EHRs, information is available whenever and wherever it is needed.
“EHRs give providers reliable access to a patient’s complete health information. This comprehensive picture can help providers diagnose patients’ problems sooner.”
EHRs can reduce errors, improve patient safety, and support better patient outcomes because they don’t just contain or transmit information; they “compute” it, for example, cross-referencing prescribed medications, alerting physicians to patient allergies and so on.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, a component of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, represents the nation’s first substantial commitment of federal resources to support the widespread adoption of EHRs. This legislation includes incentives to encourage use of EHRs and other health information technology, based on a concept called “Meaningful Use.”
Meaningful Use requires the use of an EHR as well as a demonstration that it is used to meet objective and measurable requirements. It also includes the standardization of data formats, a requirement that patients are able to easily access and download their digital medical records and images for their own use, expansion of the scope of quality metrics tracking to include specialists and to reflect outcomes, as well as care coordination.
Additional criteria will focus on the sustainability of the program through improvements in quality, safety and efficiency that improve health outcomes.
CEO SUMMARY: To prepare for the transition from fee-for-service to value-based payment, Western Connecticut Health Network, a three-hospital health system, announced a laboratory joint venture with Sonic Healthcare. Benefits will include lower test costs, more competitive prices, and the ability to offer same-day turn-around in Western Connecticut. Another benefit is that physicians in towns WCHN
CEO SUMMARY: In Portland, Oregon, Legacy Laboratory Services, a division of Legacy Health, continues to post strong volume growth. One driver supporting this growth is the lab’s ability to implement connections between its laboratory information system (LIS) and the electronic health record (EHR) systems of its office-based physician clients. Further, the lab’s strategy is to
CEO SUMMARY: EHR system vendors must now comply with the federal government’s Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements. Well-established EHR vendors will survive. But smaller EHR companies may struggle to provide the enhancements to their first generation EHR products that are required to certify as MU Stage 2 compliant. These developments mean many physicians may need to find new EHR vendors. In turn, that will require clinical labs to build new interfaces to these physicians’ EHRs.
CEO SUMMARY: In Florida, obstetricians and gynecologists are complaining about the burdensome nature of the new lab test management system introduced by UnitedHealthcare. In addition to calling for an end to the program, some ob-gyns plan not to use the system, a process that could lead UHC to deny payment to clinical labs. In a
CEO SUMMARY: Some Florida physicians are declaring their intent to leave UnitedHealthcare’s network because they find the insurer’s new BeaconLBS laboratory benefit management system to be time consuming and onerous. The defections come as the program goes through a soft launch that began on October 1. Apparently in response to physician complaints, UHC announced a
CEO SUMMARY: An interesting tug-of-war may develop in Florida between a major health insurer and physicians. UnitedHealthcare will require physicians to obtain a pre-notification number for 81 lab tests by using the BeaconLBS system (developed by a subsidiary of LabCorp). One family practice physician is speaking out about his concerns that the new UHC requirement
HERE’S AN EXAMPLE OF HOW an accountable care organization views cost control. Atrius Health sought to control excess costs by focusing on high-priced items. It started with inappropriate hospitalizations and imaging studies and moved on to laboratory testing.
Atrius Health is a non-profit alliance of six community-based medical groups and a home health and hospice agency. Its
CEO SUMMARY: On December 6, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed to delay implementation of Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 2 until 2016. One reason is that only about 80 vendors have certified their products to MU Stage 2. That is a small proportion of the almost 900 vendors who hold MU Stage 1
LABCORP, BRLI ISSUE REVISED GUIDANCE OF LOWER EARNINGS
IN RECENT WEEKS, at least two public lab companies have issued downward earnings guidance for 2014. These changes are based, in part, on expected reimbursement reductions from the Medicare program.
It was December 10 when Laboratory Corporation of America told investors that its full year 2013 earnings per share