Why 53% of Physicians Lack Confidence With Their Clinical Laboratory
Primary care physicians are under pressure each day to make the best decisions possible to deliver quality patient care, however, a recent survey funded by the U.S Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine’s March-April issue states that the primary struggle physicians encounter when it comes to minimizing uncertainty in ordering and interpreting clinical laboratory data is the lack of computerized support tools to aid in their decisions.
Physicians find it challenging to keep up with new and effective testing algorithms, according to Dr. John Hickner, professor and head of family medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and the survey’s co-corresponding author.
As we go through the evolution of technology, patient care is expected to follow suit to make sure that the treatment success rate is optimally brought on by physicians making the correct diagnoses.
The threat to a physician’s clinical laboratory
The problem faced by physicians today is that there are now more than 3,500 laboratory tests available to doctors, a staggering number that has doubled in the past 20 years. This is a challenge for physicians due to the volume of accessible tests, many of which are interchangeable and may be included in panels with other diagnostic tests.
In the national study, 1,768 general internists and family practitioners reported seeing 81 patients on average each week and requesting diagnostic laboratory testing for about one-third of those patients (31 percent). They said they were unsure about ordering tests 15% of the time and unsure about how to interpret the results 8% of the time.
The lack of information about patient costs (53 percent), insurance restrictions (40 percent), and numerous names for the same test (20 percent), according to physicians, are the biggest sources of ambiguity. The most difficult aspects of the interpretation of diagnoses were due to unclear report formats and missing results.
An unsurprising account of more than 50 percent of the doctors responded to the poll saying that using information technology to streamline ordering and give quick access to charges would help lessen the uncertainty.
To mitigate this problem physicians have their strategies when it comes to ordering and interpreting lab tests such as calling the lab and asking a specialist or fellow doctor for advice or reviewing a text or electronic resource.
However, a significant improvement in this would be for physicians to have direct access to lab professionals through lab hotlines and enhanced decision-support tools integrated into electronic medical records.
This would address key problem areas and challenges that physicians face when it comes to laboratory testing such as:
- Long turnaround times: delays in test results critically impact patient care as longer wait times lead to increased costs. Long turnaround times are caused by many factors such as the number of tests being ordered, the time it takes to perform the test, and how quickly the results are reported back to the ordering physicians.
- Costly patient bills: tests that are not covered by insurance can lead to large patient bills, which can cause strain on the doctor-patient relationship. This can also lead to non-payment that impacts the financial health of the practice.
- Lost report/samples: delays in receiving test results can lead to a loss of reports and samples that can severely alter the accuracy of diagnosis.
- Lack of customer service: when problems arise solving them becomes increasingly difficult if there is no customer service available to help resolve the issues. The reason for this is that most laboratory companies are large and impersonal which can make it challenging to get the help you need on time.
- Inadequate technology solution: using outdated technology can impact the efficiency of your practice. For example, using an electronic medical record (EMR) system that is not compatible with your laboratory’s system can lead to errors and delays that will add to your expense and affect patient care.
- Dealing with multiple labs: each laboratory has its systems and processes and working with multiple labs is both time-consuming and confusing which makes it difficult to understand how to get the results you need.
- Expensive fees: while it isn’t uncommon for laboratories to upcharge for tests or add on additional fees, physicians need to work with trusted and reliable laboratories that don’t upcharge and instead focus on their quality of service.
What makes NOAH labs different
Here at NOAH Labs, we hold ourselves to the highest standards regarding test accuracy and guarantee our standard of excellence by participating in routine toxicology proficiency testing administered by the College of American Pathologists (CAP).
Regardless of whether you are a small clinic or a major treatment institution we provide an extensive testing menu to meet your treatment needs and deliver top-notch customer support at an affordable price.
We do this by focusing on these key factors to help you grow your business:
- Faster turnaround: our average turnaround time is 24-48 hours so you can be sure to get the information you need to make treatment decisions quickly.
- Affordable costs: we offer competitive pricing and accept all major insurance plans. Because of this, you can be sure that your patients will not be faced with large bills.
- Great customer service: we have a dedicated team that’s available 24/7 to answer your questions and provide you with the support you need at any time of the day.
- Streamlined billing and logistics: we handle all the billing and logistics concerns so you can focus on managing your business and providing quality patient care.
- Modern technology: we utilize cutting-edge technology to provide accurate and timely results. This includes our EMR system, which is compatible with all major systems.
- Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified: the CLIA certification is the gold standard in the industry and our priority is ensuring that we provide our client’s laboratory that meets and maintains our standard of excellence.
- High-throughput sequencing (HTS): with HTS we can quickly evaluate hundreds to millions of samples for biological activity at the molecular, cellular, or model organism levels using automated equipment.
Want to know more about our services and how we can help you with your laboratory needs? Contact us today at Info@NOAHClinicalLaboratory.com and we’ll answer any of your questions and get you set up with the best solution for your practice.Comments