“January 3, 2005 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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More evidence of the move to an all computer economy has surfaced. During 2003, consumer use of credit cards, debit cards, and other electronic payment methods eclipsed paper checks for the first time. The study was done by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. It reports that 36.7 billion checks were paid in 2003, for a total of $39.3 trillion. By comparison, there were 44.5 billion electronic payments with a value of $27.4 trillion. These statistics reflect the same trends seen by laboratories, where patient payment options are expanding to include credit card and debit card options.


Keep an eye on Trestle Corporation of Irvine, California. It is quietly building a line of telepathology products for clinical applications and pharmaceutical development. It recently acquired Interscope Technologies Inc., based in Wexford, Pennsylvania. This telepathology firm included UPMC pathologist Michael J. Becich, M.D., Ph.D. as a founding investor.


This news item involves an IPA with 700 physicians, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, and Laboratory Corporation of America. In the San Francisco Bay Area, Brown & Toland Medical Group now offers its physicians free access via Web browser to laboratory test results from LabCorp. This is Brown & Toland’s first step to provide a subscription-based, complete electronic medical record (EMR) service to its member physicians. “To get lab results, all they have to do is configure their browsers to run it and come to training,” explained Peter Alperin, M.D., Medical Director at Brown & Toland. “We have many labs in our network, but the largest non- hospital lab is LabCorp. Almost every doctor is using it.” Brown & Toland’s strategy is to offer this free service as a way to encourage physicians to contract for other EMR modules that it offers.


The information technology is provided by Allscripts, which has a national business
relationship with LabCorp for a product that enables Web browser-based lab test orders and results reporting. Brown & Toland wants to provide full EMR services for about $350 to $450 per month. It believes this is a way for smaller medical groups, with just a few physicians, to migrate to a full EMR at reasonable expense. This example shows the growing interconnections between laboratories, IT companies, and what can be called “middle- men” in helping physicians move to a fully-electronic medical record. It also shows how a national laboratory wants to leverage its IT capabilities by helping office- based physicians make the transition from paper records to EMRs.


• Martin J. Stefanelli recently resigned his position as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of AmeriPath, Inc., headquartered in Riviera Beach, Florida. Stefanelli was previously at DIANON Systems, Inc., where he served in several executive roles.


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