The following email was received from a private diagnostic facility in Toronto. While it may be tempting to point a finger at the “for profit” nature of private diagnostics, competitive markets tend to drive efficiency and non-performers simply go out of business. As more physicians adopt EMRs, the demand for ways to leverage EMRs and improve efficiency is bound to grow.
Filling out different diagnostic requests for each facility is time consuming and takes away from patient care.
I am the Vice President Marketing at an Independent Health Facility with clinics within the Greater Toronto Area. Part of my job is ensuring that we deliver the highest level of quality to our referring physicians in the quickest way possible. With the introduction of Electronic Medical Records for physicians and specialist and with laboratories and diagnostic imaging all going in the direction towards paperless records, I have noticed a few hindrances.
In my opinion if a referring physician had the capability of filling out a request for consultation directly from their EMR and then having the option to either print the requisition or sending it electronically to the imaging facility of their choice, we would speed up the patient diagnosis process. This will eliminate the large number of patients who fail to fulfill their doctor’s request for tests as well as eliminate repeated tests.
This in essence will improve patient care as the entire process can be done quicker and with less phone calls between physician offices and diagnostic imaging clinics or departments.
We need a standardized referral template which can easily be added to any EMR software, where one can add in the specifics for a particular facility and which can easily be sent electronically to clinics, hospitals, specialists and other physicians. We need something that can communicate across the board within the wide array of software and programs we currently have in the healthcare industry.
This has already been done in New Zealand by MasIsaac Informatics for the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR).
What are your thoughts? Do you have a process through your EMR to order diagnostic investigations? How would you want the process to work? Click on the “Comments” link below.