College of American Pathologists
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  Lab-link companies focus on future, strengthen connectivity


CAP Today




April 2010
Feature Story

Brendan Dabkowski

While many firms are floundering in a faltering U.S. economy, laboratory-provider links software companies, in general, are flourishing. Driving their growth, say LPL vendors, is the increased demand for systems and products that integrate with electronic medical records, a focus of the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act.

“To meet all the proposed stages of meaningful use [in the HITECH Act] over the next six to ­seven years, the EMR and lab systems vendors will be doing all they can to accommodate the mandates regarding order entry and result delivery from and to the EMR,” says Curt Johnson, vice president of sales and marketing at Orchard Software. “To remain viable and competitive, integration is the focus over the next few years for lab portal vendors.” Orchard is seeing a growing number of inquiries for its Orchard Copia outreach and EMR integration product to help labs integrate to their client provider’s EMR.

The “increased trend to demand EMR connectivity for patient demographics, orders, and results will continue as more physician practices adopt technology due to changing health care initiatives,” concurs Deb Larson, executive vice president of Telcor.

The companies profiled in CAP TODAY’s 2010 lab-provider links software product guide aim to help their clients address these health care initiatives and strengthen the connectivity between laboratories and physician offices.

“As EHRs become the norm, customers and physicians will want to have direct connectivity to the LIS and will rely on either their LIS vendor or their internal information technology departments to enable this connec­tivity,” says Jay Nakashima, senior product manager of Horizon Lab Solutions at McKesson.

The company plans to release next month a new version of its Horizon OutReach for Lab application. The updated system will feature a “crisp, aesthetically pleasing screen design” and be able to manage commonly ordered genetic and molecular tests, Nakashima says. “To address the explosion of molecular and genetic testing,” Horizon OutReach for Lab will be able to manage gene mutations, zygosity, ancestry, and other ask-at-order-entry questions and responses, he explains. This summer McKesson plans to provide connectivity to courier management software and enhanced connectivity to public health agencies.

New from Cortex Medical Management Systems is CorteXchange, which was released last October. The system is live with several EMR results interfaces and has established an interface with Ventana, says customer advocate Judith Krebs. Cortex is updating the system’s inbound ADT and orders interface. Improvements should be in place later this year, she says.

The latest from SCC Soft Computer is a redesigned version of the company’s SoftWebPlus Web portal, which can connect with other companies’ lab information systems. Released last November, the portal delivers real-time patient results to remote locations via the Internet. SCC also offers a “full outreach package, from electronic orders, to courier management, to specimen tracking, to results, to billing, and more,” says company CEO Gilbert Hakim.

In February, SCC launched partnerships with Emdeon and Ellkay under which the latter companies will provide connectivity to EMRs and practice management systems for SCC on an as-needed basis. “They can get it done quickly and efficiently,” Hakim says.

Also updating its LPL software is CareEvolve, which will introduce this year new features for its Care­Evolve Portal. Enhancements will include electronic prescribing and courier communication and tracking through GPS devices, says Brian T. Jones, the company’s vice president.

CareEvolve is focused on keeping up with the demand for EMR integration, says Jones, and the company now has more than 1,400 EMR interfaces live and is connected to 80 different EMR vendors.

An updated product offering from the Blue Iris Division of Mitem Corp. is Blue Iris eLaborate version 8.6, an EMR integration solution released in January. The new version, says Mitem CEO Aurel Kleinerman, MD, PhD, provides connectivity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to state and county epidemiologists for “reportable findings,” automatically verifies insurance eligibility and benefits, and is equipped with enhanced computerized physician order entry (CPOE) process support. Blue Iris eLaborate’s software-as-a-service model, he adds, also provides a Web portal for electronic lab order entry and reporting for facilities that do not require a full EMR system. It also automatically verifies medical necessity for Medicare and Medicaid orders.

Atlas Medical Software has introduced LabNetWorks, an order-management system that Atlas refers to as a “laboratory network in a box.” The system allows labs to form and manage complex networks laboratories, with a centralized administrative dashboard that allows lab network personnel to monitor operational workflow and proactively address customer service issues. The system, says Robert Gregory, senior vice president of corporate strategy, automates test sharing and routing and allows each lab to tailor its workflow to ensure that it receives clean, complete orders.

The company is also launching its HealthCentric health information exchange platform and distributing Atlas Patient Portal, a solution that allows patients to work with their physicians to release patient laboratory results to personal health records, Gregory says. Another addition to the company’s product profile is Atlas Mobile, an application for the Apple iPhone or iPod touch that allows health care providers to securely access patient reports from their handheld mobile devices. Support for other mobile devices will be released later this year.

LigoLab last year expanded the functionality within its LigoLab Connect software to allow physician office staff to remotely and securely access laboratories’ document imaging systems, says Suren Avunjian, the company’s vice president of sales and development. Also added to LigoLab Connect was “upfront eligibility checking with the top 500 insurance companies right at the order-entry process,” Avunjian says. The latest version of the product, which is not yet available, integrates access to full digital slide scans, allowing ordering physicians to have full remote consultations with pathologists.

Telcor updated its Quick-Req/Quick-Results LPL software last August, says Larson, to improve the process of scheduling radiology orders. The company also released last year its requisition repository module, which enables long-term storage of PDF images of requisitions, advance beneficiary notices, and insurance cards and allows secure intranet access from within customer Web sites.

Emdeon will soon introduce new versions of its Clinician LPL software, which Michele Judge, senior director of clinical services, describes as an “EMR-Lite solution” that will help providers meet meaningful use requirements to qualify for federal stimulus incentive funds. New versions of Clinician are 7.2, which will include split requisition functionality for CPOE and be released in May; 7.3/7.4, which will expand handheld capabilities to include results/report viewing and be released in June or July; and 7.5, which will include a patient communication portal and be released in August or September.

Introduced by Pathagility last summer was the ReportPath system, which is a Web-based solution for storing, managing, and distributing report data that integrates with laboratories’ system environments and provides multichannel distribution options. ReportPath, says Pathagility president Mark McCuin, comes with a customizable portal that provides a “secure communication conduit between our lab clients and their health care providers.” Pathagility recently added a bidirectional order-and-result management module to its DataPath lab-to-provider integration platform and plans to add bar-code scanning, label printing, and multi-partner rules engine features later this year.

Brunston Integrated Systems recently added courier manifests with selectable formats to its Brio2000 Link LPL product, says company president Donald Butler, PhD. In addition, physician staff can now use Brio2000 Link to view lab test results and then immediately set prerecorded messages for patients to hear through a toll-free number.

In response to recent government incentives for EMR adoption, Brunston “developed a unified, cost-reducing approach called Securo/Exchange to help laboratories and hospitals deal with all the various kinds of EMR systems they may encounter,” Dr. Butler says. Securo/Exchange works with or without the Brio2000Link, to handle data communication and mapping/formatting. The company also created a pricing structure to ease the cost burden for interfacing with EMRs and other third-party entities, he says.

CAP TODAY’s product guide to laboratory-provider links software includes products from the aforementioned manufacturers and from several other vendors. Companies supplied the information listed. Readers interested in a particular product should confirm it has the stated features and capabilities.

Brendan Dabkowski is CAP TODAY associate editor.

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