CEO SUMMARY: While companies like iScribe and Allscripts have attracted lots of attention with their efforts to convince doctors to use wireless PDAs to order prescriptions, InstantDx has quietly launched its “OnCallData” service in Washington, DC. It offers both prescription-ordering and lab test results reporting and allows a wireless connection with any type of device that a doctor prefers.
GROUND ZERO IN THE MOVE to convert healthcare services to Internet-based technology is prescription ordering.
Using hand-held devices and wireless connections to the Internet, a host of companies are aggressively competing to shift doctors away from handwritten prescription orders. Instead, these companies want doctors to use their particular prescription-ordering solutions.
THE DARK REPORT has long predicted that most e-health companies will include lab testing services in their product mix for an obvious reason: the two highest-volume activities in healthcare are prescription ordering and lab test ordering/results reporting.
Early Market Introduction
One of the first companies to implement an Internet-based system which offers both prescription ordering with lab test reporting is InstantDx, LLC, a division of Immunomatrix Inc. in Gaithersburg, Maryland. In conjunction with American Medical Laboratories, Inc. of Chantilly, Virginia, Instant Dx has made lab test results available since late spring.
“Our ‘OnCallData’ product has distinctive features which make it unique in the United States,” said Krishnan Seshadri, Chief Technology Officer at InstantDx. “First, we don’t restrict physicians to using a specific type of PDA device. To the contrary, the physician can use any wireless device he wants to connect to our service. This includes pagers, cellular telephones, lap top computers, PDAs, and the like.
“Second, we believe we are the first company to go live with both wireless-enabled prescription ordering and lab test results reporting,” he continued. “Currently there are over 100 physicians in the Washington, DC area using our service. We are ready to launch in Richmond, Virginia with an ASP (application service provider) partner that will service 400 physicians.”
In addition, InstantDx has an agreement with NDCHealth Corporation. Its physician management systems, Medisoft and LYTEC® , are used by 130,000 doctors nationally. Both companies are working to roll out the InstantDX service to this group.
With OnCallData’s lab test resulting service, the doctor can view his patients’ lab results in a secure manner, using any type of wireless device which can connect to the Internet and reach the Web site of InstantDX. “This is a browser- based system which requires no software,”? explained Seshadri, “Doctors pay $29.95 per month for unlimited use of the system to order prescriptions and view lab results.”
Fundamental Market Shifts
“Our relationship with InstantDX was a bit of serendipity,” noted Jack Bergstrom, Chief Operating Officer at American Medical Laboratories (AML). “Dr. Allan Weinstein, InstantDX’s CEO, has been a long-time client of AML, and they wanted to introduce this service in Washington, DC, which is one of the two areas of the country where AML provides lab testing to physicians’ offices.
“That’s how our two companies got together, he added. “On our side, we found it easy to participate. We only needed to write an interface that links our LIS data base with the InstantDx host. Once that was done, secure access to AML’s lab test data was up and running.”
Low-Cost And Low-Effort
Bergstrom noted that it’s a little early to evaluate physician reaction to this type of Internet-based laboratory service. “It’s been active for only about four months,”? he observed, “and most of the activity involves prescriptions. However, it’s a low-cost, low-effort way for doctors to access their patient’s lab results. The simplicity of the InstantDX approach is intriguing.”?
InstantDX faces a host of competitors in the prescription-ordering field. Several have a higher public profile, such as Allscripts, iScribe, and Med-Scape, just to name a few. But THE DARK REPORT is unaware of any existing, operational services that allow a physician to both order prescriptions and view lab results on the same device.
The significance of InstantDX is that it supports THE DARK REPORT’S expectation that almost any e-health service, to be economically viable in the earliest stages of Internet-based healthcare services, must include lab test ordering and/or results reporting services. Lab executives and pathologists should closely watch how this trend unfolds because it will change the way laboratories interact with their clients.
POCT Development Work Leads to InstantDX
ANOTHER IMPORTANT ASPECT about InstantDX is that it was developed directly from efforts to create a point-of- care testing (POCT) instrument system.
“Our parent company, Immunomatrix, is developing a POCT system for HCV and triponin testing,”? explained Krishnan Seshadri, Chief Technology Officer at InstantDX. “This product is now undergoing FDA review.
“At one stage in its development, the question was asked ‘how do we get test results from this POCT instrument into the doctor’s hands?’ Laboratorians know that many good POCT testing systems fail to provide a satisfactory reporting solution,’ he said.
“We believe POC testing requires a different type of work flow to maximize its success in both hospital and physicians’ office settings. Our approach was to report POCT results via wireless technology,”? observed Seshadri. “This led us directly to recognizing both the value and importance of giving doctors a way to order prescriptions and view lab results via wireless. That was the genesis of InstantDX.”