IN RESPONSE TO MEDICARE AND PRIVATE PAYER efforts to increase physicians’ use of e-prescribing, 4Medica, Inc., of Culver City, California, was one of the first laboratory informatics vendors to add an effective e-prescribing capability to its lab test order and results reporting system.
“As physicians adopt e-prescribing, it is a timely opportunity that laboratories can leverage to their competitive benefit,” stated Ravi Sharma, CEO of 4Medica. “Having a user-friendly e-prescribing service integrated into the lab test order and results reporting system can improve productivity of the physician and his office staff. More importantly, use of e-prescribing plays an important role in reducing prescription errors and negative drug interactions.
“There is another reason why clinical labs and pathology practices should want to offer e-prescribing as part of their electronic interface with referring physicians,” continued Sharma. “The build up in e-prescribing is simultaneously expanding physician use of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and online EMR [electronic medical record] connectivity.
Fully Integrated Informatics
“This represents important progress toward the goal of fully integrated healthcare informatics, particularly as it supports the universal digital health record (DHR),” he stated. “Labs must constantly update their LIS and informatics services to support this ongoing integration.”
4Medica’s proprietary lab outreach application, LabIHR, interfaces with a contiguous suite of applications. “MedsIHR is our e-prescribing solution,” said Sharma. “It is one module that works with our LabIHR, which allows physicians to send lab orders and receive results electronically. Other integrated applications include specimen labeling, some lab management functions, electronic transfer of imaging test orders and results, and even an application that allows the physician to remotely monitor progress of a hospitalized patient. Our system is designed so the doctor doesn’t have to log in and out, but can navigate from application to application with a single click.”
FOR LABS INTERESTED in providing their client physicians with an e-prescribing solution, Sharma provided a list of functions that can be performed by such a system. They include:
- Eligibility and formulary checking
- Automatic alerts and notifications
- Drug to drug interactions
- Drug to allergy interactions
- Drug to lab interactions—available in real time, both at the time of placing medication orders and when alerting physicians to changes in lab values.
- Graphing—multiple lab analytes and medications are graphed on a single graph indicating the relationship between lab results and medications.
- Create common lists of frequently ordered medications
- Select formulary preferred alternative drugs
- Access patient’s historical medications
- Print, fax, or electronically transmit prescriptions
- Route prescriptions to patient-preferred or practice-preferred pharmacies