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November 2012

Editors:
Raymond D. Aller, MD
Hal Weiner

Giving the laboratory a voice in systemwide informatics strategizing Giving the laboratory a voice in systemwide informatics strategizing

If you want to be taken seriously, then you need to get serious about what you bring to the table.

To this end, if you believe your institution’s chief informatics officer or chief medical information officer is not taking into account the wants and needs of the lab when formulating systemwide informatics strategies, then you need to offer a knowledge and skill set worth tapping and make your value known to the powers that be.

Following are steps you can take to increase your value to your institution’s informatics leadership and, thereby, help them see the importance of taking the laboratory into account when making systemwide informatics decisions.

  • Join national organizations that will better your understanding of the broad scope of practical clinical informatics as well as pathology informatics. Participate in their listservs and attend their annual meetings. Worthwhile organizations include the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, and Association for Pathology Informatics. Many physicians, not just those with leadership titles, join such organizations and attend their meetings. Therefore, these forums afford an opportunity to discuss issues shared by your peers nationwide. They also may provide you with a chance to chat with your CMIO in a more relaxed atmosphere while showing him or her your commitment to medical informatics.
  • Volunteer for internal medical staff committees focused on the electronic management of information. Research which committees are the best fit for you by talking with the president of the medical staff or your CMIO or by looking up such information on your hospital’s intranet or in its operations manual. In the same vein, become a champion of informatics initiatives, such as the implementation of an electronic health record system.
  • When you see opportunities to improve information processing, including opportunities outside your domain, bring them to the attention of health system informatics leadership. Share simple suggestions via such avenues as e-mail or discussions at medical staff committee meetings. Explain complex or sophisticated suggestions via focused meetings with informatics staff.
  • Join the national user groups for those information systems used by your lab and hospital. Your credibility with informatics leadership will likely grow if you ask to be a clinical representative for your hospital or health system at user group meetings.
  • Educate yourself about the duties and challenges of chief medical information officers to better align your lab’s informatics needs with those of the overall organization. Showing that you understand the viewpoint of the CMIO ups your chances of becoming a member of the CMIO’s core team. An excellent reference is the CMIO Survival Guide, edited by William F. Bria, MD, and Richard L. Rydell (HIMSS Press, 2012).

Because nothing is accomplished in a vacuum, it’s important to educate your coworkers in the lab about the need for you to participate in the development of hospitalwide informatics strategies. Their support can add credibility to your efforts and help you free up time for such endeavors. Devoting even five to 10 percent of your time to the aforementioned informatics initiatives can benefit your laboratory immeasurably.

-Raymond Aller, MD

Halfpenny Technologies introduces stage two meaningful use tool kit Halfpenny Technologies introduces stage two meaningful use tool kit

Halfpenny Technologies has released its Meaningful Use Tool Kit, a cloud-based software toolset that allows electronic health record system vendors and clinical laboratories to expedite compliance with meaningful use stage two regulations.

For clinical laboratories, the tool kit replaces point-to-point electronic health record system connections with a single pipe connection to Halfpenny’s cloud-based Integrated Technology Framework Hub, simplifying the integration of EHR systems and lab information systems. By connecting to ITF-Hub, labs can offer physicians bundled results or dashboards.

Halfpenny Technologies, 610-277-9100

Mediware blood-management software receives updated FDA clearance Mediware blood-management software receives updated FDA clearance

Mediware Information Systems’ 2012 versions of its core blood-management software products LifeTrak and HCLL Transfusion have received updated FDA 510(k) clearance.

The latest versions of the LifeTrak donor, lab, and distribution software and HCLL Transfusion software recognize multiple time zones. This capability, Mediware reports, is of particular importance to large health care systems with facilities spread across a wide geographic area and to military health care organizations that will deploy the software worldwide.

Mediware Information Systems, 888-633-4927

4medica offers LOINC mapping 4medica offers LOINC mapping

4medica has announced the availability of its LOINC Mapping Services, which are designed to help laboratories address physician order requirements in the meaningful use stage two final rule.

As part of the company’s mapping services, 4medica subject matter experts with training in Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes database configurations map test catalogs to standard LOINC identifiers for client labs, perform updates, and maintain the database.

The service eases the burden on laboratories as they assist physician clients with incorporating laboratory results into the electronic health record as structured data, 4medica reports.

LOINC Mapping is a component of 4medica Lab Suite.

4medica, 310-695-3300

Ignis Systems’ lab orders and results functionality focus of partnerships Ignis Systems’ lab orders and results functionality focus of partnerships

Sigmund Software, a provider of electronic medical record software for behavioral health and addiction treatment centers, has chosen Ignis Systems to deliver integrated laboratory and radiology orders and results to its clients in 30 states.

Ignis’ Web-hosted physician order-entry solution, OrdersAnywhere, will be embedded in the Sigmund EMR workflow for laboratory ordering and routing.

The fully integrated products are slated for general availability in January.

Ignis also announced that Prowess, a developer of oncology software, will integrate OrdersAnywhere into its Panther electronic medical record system/oncology information system/picture archiving and communications system.

Ignis Systems, 888-806-0309

Brunston system selected by Midwest facilities Brunston system selected by Midwest facilities

Trinity Health Systems’ Mercy Medical Center Sioux City, Iowa, and Dunes Medical Laboratories, North Sioux City, SD, have contracted to use Brunston’s Securo/Exchange system. The facilities will use Securo/Exchange to interface patient demographics and laboratory results with the electronic medical record system at Crittenton Center of Sioux City, a facility that supports battered and homeless women.

To show its support for Crittenton Center’s mission, Brunston will provide, at no charge, additional interface functionality supported by Securo/Exchange for use within the center.

Brunston Corp., 208-968-7770

Upcoming LOINC workshop and meeting Upcoming LOINC workshop and meeting

The Regenstrief Institute, National Library of Medicine, and Laboratory LOINC Committee will hold a public workshop and LOINC Committee meeting in Indianapolis on Dec. 6 and 7.

The hands-on workshop will educate users about the structure and distribution of the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes database and the use and utility of LOINC codes and RELMA (Regenstrief LOINC Mapping Assistant).

LOINC is an extensive, standard coding system for identifying laboratory test results.

For more information about the meeting or to register, go to http://loinc.org/meetings/20121206, or send a fax to “LOINC meeting” at 317-423-5695, or phone 317-423-5579.


Dr. Aller is director of informatics and clinical professor in the Department of Pathology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He can be reached at raller@usc.edu. Hal Weiner is president of Weiner Consulting Services, LLC, Florence, Ore. He can be reached at  hal@weinerconsulting.com.