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May 2011

Editors:
Raymond D. Aller, MD
Hal Weiner

Lab interoperability project gaining momentum Lab interoperability project gaining momentum

It takes a pilot to not only get a plane off the ground, but also a project. In this case, a $4.9 million project intended to develop interoperability between hospital laboratories and public health agencies. And pilot laboratories are preparing for launch.

The CAP SNOMED Terminology Solutions division, American Hospital Association, and network integrator Surescripts are partnering in the initiative, called the Lab Interoperability Cooperative, the focus of which is to electronically connect hospital labs to public health agencies for the purpose of transmitting data on reportable lab results. The project, which is intended to help hospital labs meet meaningful use requirements, is funded through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This connection aims to enable hundreds of hospitals to engage in electronic reporting to help public health officials act more rapidly and efficiently to control disease,” says Debra Konicek, managing director of CAP STS.

During the two-year grant period, the project partners will recruit, educate, and connect a minimum of 500 hospital labs, including at least 100 critical access hospitals, to the appropriate public health agencies.

The hospital laboratory recruiting phase of the project, which began in late February, is expected to last six months. CAP STS and the AHA are targeting the same hospital labs, but CAP STS is approaching lab directors, while the AHA is approaching hospital executive teams. The idea is to inform both groups about the initiative and, thereby, increase participation, says Konicek.

CAP STS is working through the CAP Division of Laboratory Improvement Programs to target labs for participation. “We would like to obtain a representative sample of a variety of different types of labs—large academic medical centers, community hospitals, and rural hospitals—that are in different phases of electronic health record adoption,” she says.

In addition to the recruitment phase, the interoperability project has been divided into two other phases: functional interoperability/health information exchange and implementation. The former involves defining standards to be used in the information exchange, providing technical education to participating laboratories, and laying the groundwork for establishing systems connectivity. The latter will kick off with a small group of pilot laboratories that will be selected by July 31. The cooperative will continue to add hospital laboratories as part of the implementation phase into 2012.

“The ultimate goal is to have these hospital laboratories meeting stage one criteria for meaningful use for a public health reportable lab test, which means they must be able to transmit results [in] real time in an electronic health record environment from the hospital to the public health agencies,” says Andrea Pitkus, PhD, CAP STS lab subject matter expert.

The underlying challenge, agree Konicek and Pitkus, will be trying to support labs of varying electronic capabilities, sometimes within the same health care system. Some critical access hospitals, for example, are still using paper rather than electronic files, and some large academic medical centers use disparate information systems across their facilities.

The STS team will offer customized support to lab participants whenever possible, Konicek says. Applying lessons learned from the more advanced labs to the smaller labs, in addition to providing labs with implementation and education guides developed by the STS division, will help address this challenge, she adds.

Toward the end of this year, the work completed by the cooperative should meld with the federal government’s initiative to develop a standards and interoperability framework for electronic health record systems. The federal initiative, in part, involves developing a standard for sending data from an LIS to an EHR and then to a public health agency. Once that framework has been developed, the next step will involve expanding the capability of hospital labs to transmit data other than reportable lab results to public health agencies, Konicek says.

“Going into the future,” says Pitkus, “this is the foundation for lab data interoperability, but also for structured lab data, which is part of the stage two and stage three meaningful use criteria.”

Two Fold Software releases new version of LIMS Two Fold Software releases new version of LIMS

London-based Two Fold Software Limited has released an enhanced version of its Qualoupe laboratory information management system software.

A new intuitive user interface can restrict an individual’s access to those LIMS capabilities assigned to the user’s role. “In Qualoupe you can define a role for a lab technician who only needs access to, say, the sample manager and batch manager modules,” says Paul Bateman, Two Fold Software business development manager.

The latest release of Qualoupe also allows users to define sequential sample numbering by laboratory, batch, or project. “These numbers are centrally controlled, so in cases where multiple labs exist, the samples can be logged in across the labs and allocated sequential sample numbers for each lab,” says Bateman. “The same applies when samples are assigned to batches by Qualoupe. It is feasible to log sequential sample numbers for the samples in a batch.”

The Web-based Qualoupe user-customizable interface is principally icon-driven and features a Just Enough Information Model, or JEIM, which requires minimal mouse clicks to operate. The product is available worldwide.

Two Fold Software
Phone: +44 (0) 845 8055182

New Web site a resource for ICD-10 and 5010 transition New Web site a resource for ICD-10 and 5010 transition

The American Academy of Professional Coders and claims clearinghouse Navicure have developed the ICD-10 Hub Web site. The new site is dedicated to helping health care providers transition to the HIPAA 5010 data transaction sets and ICD-10 code sets.

ICD-10 Hub, http://icd10hub.com, includes a 2011 HIPAA 5010 implementation timeline, payer announcement updates, 5010 checklist reference sheet for mapping ICD-9 to ICD-10, white papers, glossaries of terms, blog posts, news postings, and recorded Webinars.

The deadlines for transitioning to 5010 and ICD-10 are Jan. 1, 2012 and Oct. 1, 2013, respectively.

3M introduces interoperability solutions as Web applications 3M introduces interoperability solutions as Web applications

3M Health Information Systems is now offering its 3M Healthcare Data Dictionary and 3M Enterprise Master Person Index as Web-based applications. Both products offer the latest application program interfaces and make patient data intelligible and actionable across multiple information systems, health care sites, and patient encounters.

The dictionary is a controlled medical vocabulary server that translates and integrates patient data from disparate information systems, giving the data context and meaning. The index integrates and consolidates patient indices from multiple patient registration systems into a single centralized index.

3M Health Information Systems
Phone: 800-367-2447

AMA releases CPT reference application AMA releases CPT reference application

The American Medical Association has introduced an application that allows physicians to quickly select Current Procedural Terminology billing codes. The application is available at no charge through the Apple iTunes store.

The CPT evaluation and management quick reference application is compatible with the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. It features decision-tree logic and quick search options, allowing physicians to digitally track and e-mail CPT codes. Physicians can also save their most frequently used codes by location or type of service.

Sunquest offers variety of blood bank systems Sunquest offers variety of blood bank systems

Sunquest Information Systems markets comprehensive blood bank solutions for hospitals and centralized transfusion services.

Sunquest Blood Bank provides bar-code functionality to address positive patient identification during each step from sample collection to component transfusion. The product automatically captures and transmits billing information, implements security-based quality assurance overrides during testing or dispensing, continuously updates each blood product’s status during the transfusion process, and maintains and updates patient data. Multi-facility inventory control functionality allows users to ship products to other locations.

Combining Sunquest Blood Bank with Sunquest Collection Manager and Sunquest Transfusion Manager creates the Sunquest Closed Loop Transfusion Management System. With Sunquest Collection Manager, users can verify patient and specimen container identity and print specimen labels at the point of care. Sunquest Transfusion Manager, which operates on a handheld device or portable PC, uses scanning technology to display patient transfusion data at the point of care and ensure the proper blood product has been issued.

Sunquest Information Systems
Phone: 877-239-6337

U.S. Military signs software contract with Mediware U.S. Military signs software contract with Mediware

The U.S. Military Health System has selected Mediware Information Systems’ transfusion management software, HCLL Transfusion, to manage transfusion medicine at 68 military health care sites worldwide. This announcement follows the military’s selection late last year of Mediware’s LifeTrak and InSight software systems, which will be used to manage and track blood donor records and blood product inventories in 28 Military Health System blood donor facilities worldwide. Used together, the Mediware software will support the military’s donor management and blood collection, testing, distribution, and transfusion activities.

Mediware Information Systems
Phone: 888-633-4927


Dr. Aller is director of informatics 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.