Predating physician orders

The MU programs are being presented in a phased approach and are being deployed in three stages as follows: In order for facilities to meet requirements for Stage 1, there are 15 “Core Objectives,” five additional “Menu Set Objectives” from a set of ten objectives, and six total “Clinical Quality Measures.” While storing laboratory data is not part of the 15 “Core Objectives,” it is part of the “Menu Set Objectives.” An electronic interface between the LIS and a certified EHR will qualify a facility for a “Menu Set Objective.” To satisfy the lab results Menu Set Objective, a minimum of 40 percent of clinical laboratory test results must be incorporated into an EHR as structured data.In order to incorporate laboratory results as structured data, the LIS must be interfaced to the EHR.We are seeing a trend in the adoption rate of EHRs by clinicians to practice more efficient medicine and attain the Meaningful Use stimulus dollars.The IDC Health Insights completed a report in November 2011 that predicts the market for ambulatory EHRs will grow significantly in the coming years, moving from less than 25 percent adoption in 2009 to more than 80 percent by 2016.The shared data featured a range of information that may have included, but was not limited to, demographics, billing and insurance information, medical history, medication and allergies, immunizations, laboratory test results, radiology images, and vital signs.It served as a complete patient record of medical encounters and provided increased patient safety through evidence-based decision support and quality outcome reporting.Labs immediately realized an increase in efficiency and accuracy and an easing of regulatory compliance.Even with these successes, administrators quickly recognized the inefficiencies and additional costs of having separate islands of information that did not speak to one another.

This stimulus act provides incentive money for physicians to adopt certified EHRs and meet meaningful-use requirements.Administrators expected the LIS to act as a central hub.They wanted the lab to receive orders and send laboratory results to the EHR, send orders to the reference laboratory (if the tests were not performed in-house), and then receive the results from the reference lab.If the efficiencies in lab result access and reduced transcription time and errors were not sufficient to drive connectivity in physician offices, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) has certainly made an impact toward this connectivity.ARRA, which is commonly referred to as the “stimulus package” and was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009, included the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, also known as HITECH.

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