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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Pew Research Survey Reveals a Majority of Americans Keep Track of Their Own Health Status or That of a Loved One

Study findings show that clinical labs and pathology groups have opportunity to add value for consumers who actively monitor their health information

There is the opportunity for clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups to build closer relationships with consumers by improving the access consumers have to their medical laboratory test data. A majority of Americans are now tracking health indicators, according to a recently published study.

Americans are becoming more self-aware and are assuming responsibility for their own health status. Those are findings from a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Projects. This study found that more than two-thirds (69%) of U.S. adults track a health indicator for themselves or a loved one, which has changed their overall approach to health. (more…)

Big EHR Companies Like Allscripts, Cerner, and EPIC Posting Major Gains in Revenue and Operating Profit as Providers Address Stage Two of Meaningful Use

Ongoing federal program to encourage providers to adopt EHRs is not without its critics who contend the market is dominated by nation’s biggest health IT companies

News reporters have finally begun to notice that it is boom time for vendors of electronic health record (EHR) systems. Over the past three years, revenue and profits have soared at the nation’s biggest health information companies.

Of course, pathologists and clinical laboratory managers had front row seats to watch these events as they unfolded in recent years. Since 2010, every clinical laboratory and anatomic pathology group has been working to interface their laboratory information systems (LIS) with the EHR systems of parent hospitals and client physicians. (more…)

Healthcare Observers Disagree on Cost-effectiveness of Electronic Health Record Systems

Medical laboratory professionals will be surprised to learn that some experts claim American healthcare will not see a return on investment from use of EHR systems

It is the popular wisdom today that universal adoption of electronic health record (EHR) systems will lead to significant improvements in patient outcomes, while also delivering substantial cost savings to the American health system.

However, this trend also requires clinical laboratories to spend substantial amounts of money to provide electronic interfaces between their laboratory information systems (LIS) and EHR systems of their client physicians.

Until recently, very little criticism of these federal EHR subsidies has appeared in the media. However, some experts now assert that tens of billions of dollars hospitals and physicians are spending to implement EHRs and integrate their information systems will never be recouped by downstream savings. (more…)

Two Studies Find that Patients Want Access to their Health Records, Including Clinical Pathology Test Data

Patients are ready to ready access to their medical records; but physicians are wary

Data from two studies here in the United States affirms that patients want access to their health records. Consequently, health systems are increasingly making it easier for patients to get access to prescription lists, medical laboratory test results and now even doctors’ notes.

These findings are important for clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups. Laboratory test data typically makes up 70% of the information contained in patient’s health record. The growing interest on the part of patients to have access to their health records creates an opportunity for labs to add value by helping patients have access to their laboratory test results.

Of course, in providing that access, labs must comply with applicable laws governing patient privacy. They must also respect the relationship patients have with referring physicians and how those physicians are themselves allowing patients access to the health records they maintain in their medical practices.

Google Health’s Pending Demise Highlights PHR Challenges for Clinical Pathology Laboratories

Google Health is an electronic health record system that terminates on January 1, 2012.

It is notable that Google, Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), on January 1, 2012, will shut down Google Health, its patient health record (PHR) platform. That announcement was made in June, so many pathologists and clinical laboratory managers may not realize that Google is exiting the PHR market.

On Google’s official blog, company officials stated their intention was “to retire two products that didn’t catch on the way we would have hoped, but did serve as influential models.”. Along with Google Health, the other product about to be discontinued is Google PowerMeter, a free energy monitoring platform, designed to help consumers cut energy usage and costs. Users can continue to download data stored on Google Health through January 1, 2013.

Growth in Users of Google Health Did Not Meet Company’s Expectations

The decision to discontinue its Google Health comes barely three years after the company launched the service. It hoped that Google Health would help healthcare consumers to make smarter choices. In May of last year Dark Daily reported that the number of Americans using PHRs doubled between 2008 and the end of 2009. News coverage of the Google Health story confirms that PHR use has increased within a narrow market segment of tech-savvy patients and providers, as well as with the growing numbers of consumers interested in fitness and wellness. But the number of Google Health users fell far short of the millions of PHR users that Google projected would sign up and use the service.