By Lorri Markum

You’ve heard the phrase before, knowledge is power, but often knowledge can be perceived as something that should be coveted, not shared. However, quite the opposite is true in relation to the value of sharing knowledge, as identified in the Forbes magazine article, “Knowledge Is Power—And Why You Should Share It”, particularly when it comes to electronic data. 

Last week, hc1 provided an educational webinar for the healthcare community, particularly for leaders of health systems, hospital laboratories and lab stewardship committees as well as chief medical officers and VPs of ancillary health services, sharing how real-time lab testing data insights can empower lab leaders to help create efficiencies and improve care by uncovering where provider test ordering habits are not aligning with testing best practices.

Four ways to reveal provider ordering behavior that can reduce costs and improve patient care was presented by hc1 experts, Tawni Reller, MA, BS (MLS, ASCP), product manager, and Adam Sajewich, executive director of high-value care, during a 30-minute live event. That webinar is now available for on-demand viewing by clicking here.  

Sajewich opened the webinar with a brief overview of how hc1 has been helping labs for more than 11 years, to extend their capabilities by leveraging their data in a HIPPA-compliant, HITRUST-certified cloud environment to overcome the challenges that stand in the way of meeting their goals.

Whether it’s financial data in a billing system, patient data in an EMR or LIS, or timekeeping data––hc1 is an expert in organizing this information that is often siloed in existing systems and enriching it within hc1 to provide a more detailed story that wasn’t necessarily visible before. Bringing these systems and data information into hc1 solutions empowers labs to run more efficiently.

“Labs are in a unique position to provide extraordinary care by tapping into the vast potential energy in their data network in an ecosystem where nearly every clinical and operational decision is driven by data,” Sajewich said. “There’s a significant advantage to be gained with easy access to high-quality lab data from a single source of truth.”

As labs continue to be overwhelmed by supply and staffing shortages and tasked with improving quality of care, healthcare organizations need every opportunity to create efficiencies and improve care, particularly in the lab. Research has shown that approximately 20% of all lab tests are considered unnecessary resulting in wasted resources and offering room for improvement in care.

Reller, a medical laboratory scientist of more than 25 years established as an expert in the use of quality indicators in both large and small clinical labs, jumped right in addressing four ways the hc1 platform can help reveal provider ordering behavior. She shared common issues prevalent in labs and provided detailed examples and explanations about ways to improve and overcome these obstacles to reveal real-time insights.

The Four Key Areas

Duplicate Detection was the first issue Reller demonstrated using demo hc1 Order Oversight™ dashboards, how more detail and information can be obtained to identify patients receiving repeat testing outside of established guidelines. Next in line was Concurrent Test Detection, comparing the concurrent utilization of specific tests that identify tests that should not be ordered together or monitoring tests that should be ordered together. The third, Encounter Test Frequency––looks at how many tests of a certain type by panel or testing are ordered by patient encounter. Lastly, Provider Ordering Behavior or the number of tests providers actually order by encounter.

With real-time insight into those four ordering patterns, Reller showed how labs can:

  • Improve quality of care by identifying testing outside guidelines or providers may be ordering outdated tests.
  • Target change to specific providers, medical groups or health system departments, monitor results, and tie into performance improvement projects whether the lab originates those or the lab data is a contributing factor.
  • Reduce cost by eliminating duplicate testing which is an across-the-board insight, it can tie into panel orders or profiles where individual tests are being duplicated.
  • Rein in unnecessary testing to better allocate resources. With the strain on the lab and healthcare workforce, inefficient use of resources is a contributor to unnecessary testing, ie: easier to just duplicate a test vs. trying to track down information supporting the order.

All four of these strategies are unified in supporting a lab’s initiatives in relation to how the data is communicated both internally or externally from the lab.

Key Takeaways

Unchecked overutilization of testing can reduce quality of care and increase costs for the lab, especially as both supplies and staff are lacking in abundance. In addition the quality of patient care can be impacted in many ways, for instance, through identifying additional testing that may need to be reviewed because it may not be providing value toward the patient’s overall care, therefore the test may not be necessary.

Health system and lab leaders can improve quality of care and reduce costs by identifying opportunities to align provider ordering habits and best practices. hc1 can provide actionable insights for the lab by tying into EHR, provider ordering systems, order sets and custom order sets by specialty/provider and identifying tests that are not providing patient care value. 

Finally, with real-time lab insights, health systems and lab leaders can target change to specific providers, specialties or medical groups and perhaps even the lab itself. The root cause analysis, performance improvement plans, initiation or monitoring are all supported by hc1 insights. 

The emphasis in all of these is that the true real-time data is the focus and removes the stigma that may be otherwise attached to individuals, groups or processes within labs and health systems. 

To learn more about how your lab and/or health system can benefit from hc1 analytics™ and additionally pairing it hc1 Operations Management™, you can access the webinar, Four ways to reveal provider ordering behavior that can reduce costs and improve patient care in its entirety, on-demand, by clicking here.

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Lorri Markum is the marketing manager for hc1 and possesses more than two decades of professional and leadership marketing experience. Before joining hc1 in 2021, Lorri worked in healthcare for a non-profit organization as a marketing manager overseeing marketing needs for medical clinics in more than 40 counties throughout Indiana. She specializes in B2B digital marketing, is SEO Certified and focuses on content creation and management for the hc1 website and social media platforms and additional various communications. 

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