Electronically Signed Lab Results in Your EMR

Posted on May 16, 2008 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

My guess is that many of you are using an HL7 interface between your EMR and your lab. How does your EMR handle the signing of lab results?

We worked for an entire year testing, making requests, testing, more requests and more testing before we were able to launch an interface between our lab and EMR, but it’s been one of the best things we’ve done. The reason it took so long is the topic of another post, but it was for good reason.

One of the best advantages to a lab interface with your EMR is that you don’t have to worry about what to do with all those paper labs that you’ve signed. Inevitably all those signed paper labs will have to be scanned and attached to a patient in your EMR.

Really, that’s why a lab interface is so much better. The interface inserts the lab info right into your EMR so you don’t have to worry about:
1. Losing your lab results (before or after you sign it)
2. No need to scan your signed lab results into your EMR
3. You can run really cool reports on the data from those labs in your EMR (ie. blood sugar change over time)
4. Most EMR will notify you that there are lab results to read, so there’s no more waiting for the paper to somehow make it to you

In our EMR, a lab result gets easily signed off with the click of a check mark. Actually our labs our grouped into batches according to labs that were ordered at the same time. This makes it so all our lab results appear on one nice lab report as opposed to one lab report per lab. All doctors have to do is highlight all the labs and click “Mark as Read” and that whole batch of lab results are signed electronically in the EMR.

Of course, many of you will probably ask how we handle abnormal results. Well, I guess you’ll just have to wait to learn about that.