3 Ways Labs Can Partner with IT to Advance Accountable Care

December 1, 2016

3 Ways Labs Can Partner with IT to Advance Accountable Care

With growing emphasis on accountable care, all service lines need to contribute to value-based initiatives. Because of your data and expertise, you have the unique opportunity to position your lab on the front lines. By partnering with information technology (IT), you can drive quality and empower better outcomes.

Hear from our Lab Leaders about some common issues organizations are facing, with 3 ways you can take the lead to redefine care.

Article highlights:

  • Health care institutions are constantly seeking new ways to advance accountable care
  • This creates high-value opportunities for labs to partner with IT
  • Read on to learn three things labs and IT can start doing today to drive better outcomes


Contributing Lab Leaders

Michael Astion, M.D., Ph.D., HTBE

Michael Astion, M.D., Ph.D., HTBE

Medical Director, Department of Laboratories
Seattle Children’s Hospital
Clinical Professor of Laboratory Medicine
University of Washington Department of Laboratory Medicine

Patti Jones

Patti Jones

Director of Chemistry and
Metabolic Disease Lab
Children’s Medical Center Dallas
Professor of Pathology
University of Texas Southwestern
Medical Center



Richard Gentleman

Richard Gentleman

Head of National Ancillary Contracts


1. Results retrieval in action

Without systems in place to ensure lab tests are retrieved, patient care remains suboptimal.

5% of lab tests are never retrieved
Labs + IT = retrieval reassurance

Labs and IT can put systems in place to prevent results from slipping through the cracks. By developing physician alerts, providers have the ability to check on the status of every result to make sure it was retrieved.

What does this mean for ACOs?

Results retrieval meets Triple Aim effort #1: improve the patient experience

  • Increase the level of engagement between the physician, patient and lab
  • Ensure HCPs have the information they need to deliver prompt, value-based care
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2. One test means one cost

Too often, labs receive duplicate test orders as a result of human error. This creates an operational nightmare and lots of waste.

Labs + IT = streamlined operations

Flagging duplicate tests is extremely valuable to both labs and physicians. With the help of IT, labs can alert physicians of duplicate orders and require them to confirm whether the order is accurate.

Failure to flag duplicate tests means wasted time, wasted money, and wasted productivity
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Beyond duplicate test alerts

Why stop at duplicate tests? You can also build systems to notify physicians of unneeded tests, more appropriate tests, or less expensive tests.
What does this mean for ACOs?

Flagging duplicate tests meets Triple Aim effort #2: reduce costs

  • Support accountable care goal of cost efficiency in everything you do

3. Give more access—Get more ownership

For accountable care to flourish, every stakeholder needs to be an accountable owner of a piece of the process. However, many institutions are missing incredible opportunities for patients to take ownership over their health.

When patients lack visibility into their health data, they can’t fully:

  • Manage their own wellness
  • Track healthy progress
  • Be proactive in health management
Labs + IT = patient empowerment

Through innovative applications, labs and IT can send digestible forms of data to patients, instantly. This gives patients newfound ability to “know their numbers.” What’s the result? A new pathway of communication and a new level of patient accountability.

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What does this mean for ACOs?

Giving patients access to data meets Triple Aim effort #3: improve the health of populations

  • They gain new visibility into their health status
  • They can be proactive and take ownership over their wellness
  • Institutions can leap forward in managing population health

1. Dickerson, Jane A., et al. “Transforming Laboratory Utilization Review into Laboratory Stewardship: Guidelines by the PLUGS National Committee for Laboratory Stewardship.” The Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine, The Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine, 1 Sept. 2017, jalm.aaccjnls.org/content/2/2/259.

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