Increasingly, healthcare is pushing toward the delivery of integrated diagnostics. As defined by Bruce A. Friedman, MD, Emeritus Professor of Pathology at the University of Michigan Medical School, integrated diagnostics is the “seamless collaboration among the diagnostic specialists, most notably pathologists and radiologists.”
In addition to the clinical symptoms observed by the physician, there may be several different areas of diagnostics basically operating separately – clinical pathology, anatomic pathology, molecular testing, and perhaps even some point of care modalities. The goal of integrated diagnostics is to make those different modalities overlap and work together in a synergistic fashion. The data is communicated among all participants and sorted and applied in a meaningful, practical way. At its core, integrated diagnostics has the same goals of current trends in healthcare reform – reduce costs and increase quality by providing more useable, actionable information. In short, clinical laboratory diagnostics will no longer just be an ancillary service, but also become a critical component of the diagnostic care management team.
Dr. Friedman cites four requirements for the development of effective integrated diagnostics: digital technologies, computer algorithms, clinical workflows, and enhanced lab reporting.
One potential tool for developing integrated diagnostics approaches in the clinical laboratory is Viewics. Business Intelligence (BI) tools such as Viewics utilize real-time dashboards and analytical tools to access laboratory business and clinical information such as turnaround times, results trending, utilization patterns and ordering patterns. In addition, Viewics can aggregate data from multiple information systems within your organization to identify correlations and outliers.
It’s not enough to just have or create data – it needs to be translated into timely, relevant and actionable information. In short, by using BI tools that leverage, share and highlight the value of laboratory data, laboratory managers take a critical seat in the discussions on where healthcare is headed. With the right tools, laboratories can provide significant value in the accountable care environment.