Six features to look for in an EHR lab integration module
In a medical practice, laboratory values, interventions and outcomes are critical to patient health and patient outcomes. Therefore, it is important for the medical practice to look for the following key features in an EHR lab integration module:
1. Interoperability between laboratory and medical practice
Depending on your practice, you may be using a laboratory that is within the same setting, or may be referring out for a laboratory that is offsite. It is important that your lab integration module offers interoperability with other systems, and the overseeing physician should be able to send an order for lab work electronically. Additionally, once the lab work has been completed, the results should be easily uploaded and accessed in the same portal.
2. Patient portal access to results
Patients expect a relatively quick turnaround in their lab test results. If they are continuously calling the office, this can place a burden on the nursing staff, who have to answer phone calls and explain all results. Therefore, it is helpful to have a way for patients to access their laboratory results. The lab integration module should automatically upload results for the clinician to evaluate, as well as into a patient portal. This will give the patient autonomy in their healthcare as well as providing access to results more quickly.
3. Automated reporting and analysis of results
The lab integration module should display all results with a key explaining expected norms for each piece of data that was tested. This way, both clinicians and patients will quickly be able to understand the results. Additionally, if any results are found to be outside normal parameters, the module should display a notification for the provider.
4. Automated screening and follow up scheduling
For lab values that are found to be outside normal parameters, the module should offer a suggestion for needed follow up with the physician or specialist. This will help to ensure that lab results are being evaluated and addressed. This should also help lead to better medical compliance and improved outcomes.
5. Patient education
In the patient portal of laboratory access, there should be educational information about each lab value that was analyzed. For example, if the laboratory tested blood glucose levels, there should be an option to read more about the impact of blood glucose on the body and the importance of this lab value.
6. Medication management and interaction
In the lab integration module, the list of medications should be cross referenced to analyze for possible interaction or impact on laboratory values. This serves as one more piece of best practice, ensuring that medications are up to date and appropriate. A notification would alert the overseeing physician of any potential interactions, or identify if there are medications currently prescribed to address laboratory values that are outside normal parameters (example: patient had blood glucose tested and medication list includes insulin).
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