Unexpected benefits of managing orders

In this digital age, there’s one part of healthcare that seems to be lagging behind: the Lab / Imaging Orders and Results process.

It’s not to say that electronic ordering isn’t commonplace, but too often when a Physician creates an electronic order it doesn’t stay electronic for very long.  Many orders are printed or faxed then have to be re-entered again at the diagnostics center.  A large amount of time is spent on re-entering data that is already stored electronically elsewhere… and often mis-keyed when being entered.  One of our clients was spending an average of 4-6 minutes per order manually entering orders that had been electronically entered in the EMR.  When a lab sees 20 patients or more in an hour, that’s a lot of time devoted to “busy work” and a root cause of typos and errors in the data.

Adding to the frustration, many EMR systems call tests by different names than LIS / RIS systems.  Someone has to do the translation between orders and tests so that they are aligned.  The lookup and re-entry of test codes leads to delays in patient care, delayed results to the provider, and delayed billing.  All of these factors end up costing a healthcare organization money.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

IMT OQM™, the Order Queue Manager, keeps the electronic orders electronic… converts codes and test panels from the issuing format to the clinical format that the diagnostic tool needs, and further creates a more secure and accurate path for routing results back to the ordering provider and correct patient record. Making sure that the Provider receives the results “the first time” avoids costly re-issue of orders, which often are denied reimbursement by insurance.

The implications of managing orders and results has far reaching effects on the financial aspect of the organization as well.  Reduction in duplicate testing, harmonization of coding, and more efficient automation of tasks means that clinical billing departments no longer have to scramble at the end of the month to reconcile paperwork in order get claims processed.  The impact of OQM’s automated code mapping is huge.  For one OQM customer, the total time saved was 4,400 hours in a single year… much of that was paid in overtime.  Remember that process that took 4-6 minutes per patient?  Now, the registration takes less than a second, since OQM pulls the data in directly to the LIS (Laboratory Information System) – and since it’s validated by the EMPI it’s more accurate than ever.

The side-effects of leveraging OQM have positive ripples across the organization, including:

  • Reducing manual data entry of registrations and orders
  • Eliminating “after the fact” paperwork needed for billing processes
  • Utilizing the framework for orders and results to process clinical billing registrations – extending the application to other areas
  • Automatic code mapping gives resources time to deal with more complicated exception cases

The order queue management process, while inherently about processing electronic orders, has the ability to transform your organization’s relationship with Patients as well.  We’ve seen a 40% reduction in wait times at the lab, from the point a patient walks in to the specimen is taken.  That helps keep your laboratory functioning smoothly, keeps your patients happy, and helps your organization break free from the backlog.

Don’t just take our word for it, read the case study here.