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 Home Concept Poised to be National Model, May Increase Utilization of Clinical Pathology Laboratory Testing

Medicare to do National Demonstration Project Involving Medical Homes

Medical home pilot projects are being closely watched by pathologists and clinical laboratory managers. This is a new model of patient-centered care which has important advocates among primary care practitioners. If the medical home concept catches on, it may require clinical laboratories to provide laboratory testing services in a different way.

In southeastern Pennsylvania, a medical-home pilot project is taking a “do-it-yourself” approach to managing chronic illnesses. This project is viewed by some as a precursor to a national model. The innovative program, which combines the Wagner Chronic Care Model with the patient-centered medical home concept, provides physicians with resources to improve patient–doctor communications. The pilot project is also designed to educate willing patients on how to self-manage their chronic illnesses.

Cleveland Clinic and Microsoft Team up to Use Point-of-Care Testing in EMR Network

New care delivery model might emerge from collaboration between two partners

Guess which famous health provider is partnering with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to encourage patients using home self-testing devices to regularly upload those data into an electronic medical record? It’s the Cleveland Clinic Health System. This project may point to a disruptive new model for laboratory testing.

It’s a pioneering arrangement. Microsoft’s HealthVault is interfaced with the eCleveland Clinic MyChart patient portal to create an interactive feature that collects data on from in-home medical devices used by patients with chronic conditions. The pilot project includes 460 patients with diabetes, congestive heart failure and hypertension. These patients use home blood pressure monitors, glucometers, and weight scales which are linked to the HealthVault platform personal health record (PHR) system.

Hospitals Watch Out-UPMC’s “Smart Hospital Room” is the Wave of the Future

Informed by the Lean methods of the Toyota Production System, innovators at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) have created a clever and unique “smart hospital room.” Walking into a UPMC smart hospital room is like walking into healthcare’s future.

Upon entry of the caregiver into the patient’s room, a screen by the patient automatically shows the caregiver’s name, role, and, after a HIPAA privacy step, the caregiver immediately views relevant clinical information. At the same time, when anyone enters or leaves the room, a small spotlight highlights the hand sanitizer station on the wall-a subtle reminder that the individual should clean her or his hands. The screens are designed to present exactly the information each caregiver needs for that visit, and includes known allergies, medications, and necessary clinical actions. Because the screens are voice-activated, the caregiver only needs to speak to have the patient health record (PHR) show the requested information.

The effort to create the smart hospital room started in 2006, after a patient with a known latex allergy was touched by an IV nurse and suffered a severe reaction. The angry patient, with a swollen, puffy arm, even threw a bowl of soup at someone in the room. “The fact is we, as an organization, made it easy for her (the IV nurse) to fail,” observed David Sharbaugh, Senior Director of the Center for Quality Improvement and Innovation at UPMC. Sharbaugh led the effort to create the smart room. Studying the source of errors caused the improvement team to focus on caregiver’s access to information. “Electronic health records and medical information are, in a large part, cooped up in computers located at different strategic locations throughout the unit,” observed Sharbaugh. “All we are trying to do is to make that information accessible without adding extra work for the caregivers and the patient.”

Following the success of the first prototype smart room at 486-bed UPMC Shadyside Hospital, a total of 24 hospital rooms in the same ward were converted to smart rooms by this summer. Clinical patient information comes from an electronic medical record (EMR) by Cerner Corporation (NSDAQ:CERN) of Kansas City, Missouri. UPMC clinicians wear ultrasonic tags, about half the size of a pager, made by Sonitor of Olso, Norway.

Lab managers and pathologists will find it interesting that phlebotomists are one of five types of positions wearing the ultrasound tags. Other positions wearing ultrasound tags include: physician, nurse, nurse’s assistant, and host (who brings the patient into the room and is responsible for transport and dietary work).

For those wanting to learn more, Lucy Thompson, R.N., MN CCRN, Improvement Specialist, UPMC Center For Quality Improvement and Innovation, will present the story of the UPMC Smart Hospital Room and Lessons Learned at the upcoming Lab Quality Confab on Quality Management in Diagnostic Medicine. Lab Quality Confab will take place from September 24-25, 2008 at the Hilton Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. More than 50 sessions and topics will cover the full range of laboratory and pathology operations, ranging from specimen collection and courier logistics to using Lean with automation in the high-volume core laboratory. Poster sessions will take place, and national awards and prizes totaling $6,000 will be awarded. To see topics, speakers, and all the events at Lab Quality Confab, visit

To register for Lab Quality Confab, visit

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Extra! The Hospital Room of the Future!

Looking to Avoid Allergic Reactions and Increase Patient Safety, UPMC Creates Some Very Smart Rooms

Full program information and speaker agenda for Lab Quality Confab

Complete details about the Lean-Six Sigma Poster Presentations, National Trophies, and Cash Awards, along with Poster Presentation Application and Abstract forms