News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel

News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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Medical Scribes Move Outside the ER to Help Clinicians in Other Healthcare Settings Make the Switch From Paper Charts to EHRs

Scribe-assisted physicians say their productivity is back to normal after plummeting with connection to an EHR and have time to spare

One unintended consequence of the federal program to encourage hospitals and physicians to adopt and use electronic health record (EHRS) systems is the creation of a new category of healthcare worker. Today, a growing number of hospitals and medical groups are hiring medical scribes.

Medical scribes are trained individuals who document physician-patient encounters in real-time while a physician is examining the patient. Dark Daily was one of the first to call attention to this new healthcare profession. Medical scribes got their start several years ago working in emergency rooms (ER) to help increase ER physician productivity [See Dark Daily: Adoption of EMRs Creates Demand for New Healthcare Job of ‘Scribes’].

Now, thanks in part to $15.5 billion in federal funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, medical scribes are assisting physicians outside the ER. They can be found with doctors making hospital rounds and in medical practices, entering patient medical data into EHRs while physicians are examining or interacting with patients, noted a report published in Modern Healthcare. (more…)

More Physician Use of EHRs Could Increase Medical Malpractice Claims

Because they provide medical lab test results to EHRs, clinical labs and pathologists are often named in medical malpractice lawsuits

Some experts predict that the great expansion in the number of physicians using electronic health record (EHR) systems may trigger an increase in medical malpractice lawsuits. Were this were to happen, clinical laboratories and pathology group practices might find themselves also named in such lawsuits because they provided the medical laboratory test results that populated the patient’s EHR.

Concern about an increase in medical malpractice claims surfaced in response to the speed at which the federal government is pushing physicians to implement and use electronic health record (EHR) systems as required under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). For example, federal officials are directing hospitals to implement EHRs that fulfill the Act’s Meaningful Use (MU) requirements by 2012. (more…)

CDC Reports that Hospital Improvement Programs Cut ICU Infection Rate by 58%

Clinical pathology laboratory testing played a role in reducing rate of ICU infections

Here’s a big win for improved patient outcomes, and clinical labs and pathologists played a significant role in this achievement. Central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSI) in ICUs decreased in number by a whopping 58% from 2001 to 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Some healthcare experts attribute this significant reduction in ICU infections to greater transparency in outcomes data. The CDC’s report, released on March 1, 2011, covered the period from 2001 through 2009. The CDC said that, in 2001, 43,000 ICU patients experienced what today is called a hospital acquired infection (HAI). But by 2009, that number had dropped to 18,000!

The CDC calculates that, thanks to hospital diligence and participation in programs designed to reduce HAIs, at least $1.8 billion and 27,000 lives were saved between 2001 and 2009. However, the CDC noted that other areas of healthcare did not show similar improvements in patient outcomes. (more…)

Ranking Top 10 Hospital EMR Vendors by Number of Installed Systems

Clinical pathology laboratories will keep busy interfacing their LISs to these EMRs

Tis the season of electronic health records (EHR), now that both hospitals and physicians can qualify to earn incentives from the federal government when they implement these solutions and meet “meaningful use” criteria.

It is possible for individual hospitals to receive incentives totaling as much as $2 million for implementing a certified EHR. This is powerful motivation for cash-strapped hospitals. For that reason, pathologists and clinical laboratory managers of hospital laboratories can expect to be busy ensuring that their laboratory information system (LIS) interfaces properly with the EMR of their parent hospital.


Hospital Outcomes Transparency Gets New Tools in Washington State

Although designed for use by consumers, pathologists and clinical laboratory managers can use it too

Tally up the State of Washington as the latest to implement a program to bring greater transparency to patient outcomes produced by different hospitals. In recent months, the rates of healthcare associated infections (HAI) in Washington State hospitals became available on the Internet for public viewing.

Just like patients shopping for a hospital that meets their needs, pathologists and clinical laboratory managers can visit this website and compare the HAI rates for different hospitals in the state. Washington State launched this initiative in conformance with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).