The Value of a Patient-Centric Lab in the Continuum of Care

In a patient-centric world, diagnostics must inform decisions and follow patients wherever they go. And that means well beyond the hospital grounds, to be sure.

So, pathologists and laboratory administrators will increasingly offer up their expertise throughout the care continuum. And they need to rely on lab data and processes that enable them to share their insights.

Care Continuum Stretches Far and Wide

What is the continuum of care? The Healthcare Information Management Systems Society calls it a system to “guide and track patients over time, through a comprehensive array of health services spanning all levels and care intensities.”

The Society’s Web site also lists settings that are customarily connected through a continuum of care: hospitals, emergency departments, outpatient services, urgent care, physician practices, assisted living, skilled nursing facilities, home care, hospice and more places.

As the continuum of care widens, so does the diagnostics realm.

Even the corner drug store can be a source of diagnostics information on patients.  In fact, CVS Health Corporation and Target Corporation announced in June a plan for CVS Health to acquire Target’s pharmacy and clinics and rebrand about 80 clinics to CVS Heath MinuteClinics. By 2017, CVS Health expects to operate 1,500 MinuteClinics (offering health screenings, vaccinations and more).

Indeed, there are many growing sources for diagnostics, a lot of data out there and many people to track.

So, it’s not so simple for labs—without the right process and solutions–to impact the continuum of care. Read full blog post . . .

Share and Share Alike

When information is coordinated among diverse providers, care is of higher quality and costs are lowered, according to an Atlas Medical white paper entitled, “Using Coordinated Diagnostics to Improve Outcomes, Reduce Costs and Enhance the Patient Experience.”

But the childhood lesson about “share and share alike” seems to be neglected today.

Diagnostic data are often “siloed” in each place along the continuum. Some is held by the hospital. Another test, such as one in conjunction with a “Back-to-School” special, may have been done at an urgent care center. And still other data are in the specialist’s office, located in the town where the senior citizen lives during the winters only.

“You need to manage the whole diagnostic process across inpatient, outpatient, inreach and outreach, and all the diagnostics disciplines and across disparate systems and entities. And to do that well, with the most accuracy, you need to be patient-centric,” says Robert Atlas, president and CEO of Atlas Medical.

Coordinating Diagnostics Across the Continuum of Care

Patient-centricity is one of the many benefits of coordinated diagnostics: the model for the practice of diagnostics across the healthcare continuum. Coordinated diagnostics is the delivery of knowledge and expertise in real-time to support collaboration and coordination among care providers, diagnostic testing facilities, payers, patients and other stakeholders.

And, by the way, labs with an enterprise-wide EHR/EMR are not necessarily fully patient-centric, even though their managers may think they are. That’s because workflow and processes differ from one place on the healthcare continuum to the other. The patient history on the outreach lab test order from the primary care provider may not match the hospital enterprise system for the same person, for instance.

And matching will not magically happen without strategic solutions, such as those available through Atlas Medical’s Coordinated Diagnostics Platform™. The Platform was created to support improved patient outcomes, reduce costs and enhance services as it positions labs at the information epicenter of healthcare.

“It’s a strategic solution that connects the outside world with the inside world. For anything that comes into your lab, you can funnel to the Platform and begin utilization authorization and proper feedback to others in the continuum,” explains Robert Atlas.

How a Key U.S. Lab Pulled Data Together

A laboratory in the West recently turned to Atlas Medical for help in better tracking lab orders, test results and patient financial responsibility. The lab leveraged the ATLAS Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI). The EMPI is a robust, efficient and easy-to-use matching technology that Atlas Medical clients use to create a patient-centric view of all their diagnostics data.

“It provides a centralized means to drive an ordering process, regardless of ordering setting, EMR or connectivity. This is vital, especially as providers move to a pay-for-value reimbursement model,” says Aron Seidman, ATLAS’ vice president of product management.

With the ATLAS EMPI, the lab:

  • Synchronized disparate information systems;
  • Consolidated billing;
  • Boosted the bottom line by $3.2 million in 18 months;
  • Matched patient identification and test data across multiple encounters;
  • Coordinated diagnostics and aimed toward complete patient-centricity.

Sharing: Ask a question, reply or share your experience:

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