Save money of Lab tests using Lab me analytics
There are thousands of tests being offered by laboratories. So, it is recommended to patients to discuss their conditions and symptoms with a healthcare provider and decide which Lab tests are important together. Healthcare providers can help narrow down your options that would come handy and help patients stay away from unnecessary tests.
Fig: Save Money of Lab Tests Using Lab me Analytics
An unnecessary lab test can cause needless treatment
The ‘normal’ range of every person is a bit different from the rest and blood test results of some patients will show abnormal values even though there’s nothing bad. It consists of 95% of the results from the healthy population. It means 5% of people who are still healthy are out of normal range.
The odds of getting abnormal values increases with more tests and further testing is required for abnormal results. It may also cause anxiety about unnecessary treatments and health, which further increase the cost of healthcare. So, you should go for only those lab tests which are suggested by the healthcare provider.
Excessive testing can increase the risk of sick patients
Excessive testing can also cause a threat to your health according to your circumstances. Sick patients may not able to replace blood cells as frequently as a patient who is healthy. So, drawing more amount of blood may cause depletion of blood due to multiple tests.
Working with highly skilled healthcare providers is very important to determine the right tests for unhealthy patients and to avoid any extra cost.
Displaying cost of lab test initially could save money: Studies
It is always better to predict when a future lab test may play a vital role in gaining information. Also, influence clinical test management in patients suffering gastrointestinal bleeding to reduce unnecessary test ordering. According to the recent studies, frequent lab testing doesn’t lead to better lab results.
Unnecessary lab tests cause wastage of over $910 billion every year in healthcare in the US. Along with cause, the lab test is an important safety issue for a patient. Performing large number of tests can cause incidental researches which results in unwanted follow-up testing.
Blood draws in the early morning can affect much-needed rest. Patients who are vulnerable can even cause anemia as well as complications associated with over-testing.
Fig: Displaying cost of lab test initially could save money
By mentioning the cost of lab tests in the healthcare system in real time, physicians might think before they order them. Costs of healthcare can keep going up and doctors control over 80% of such costs. Could providing real-time information to the physicians about the cost of test they are ordering will be helpful to avoid unneeded testing? This is the question which was addressed in the Springer’s Journal of General Internal Medicine.
In Atrius Health, over 215 primary care doctors underwent a study. Atrius Health is an alliance combined by six non-profit groups of medical professionals. The hospice and home health agency in Massachusetts, where they use an integrated electronic health record mechanism. In the intervention group, physicians received real-time data on lab costs for 27 different tests.
Between the control and intervention groups, changes in the rate of lab test ordering were compared on monthly. It is on the basis of up to 12 months before and after six months when the intervention took place. After waiting for six months post-intervention, all of the doctors who took part in the study also requested to check their attitudes about cost displays and costs.
According to the researchers, there was a major drop in the rates of ordering tests. Also, both low and high costs by the healthcare providers to whom the costs of lab tests were displayed in real time electronically. It covered a major decline in ordering rates for up to four of 21 laboratory tests of lower cost and one of 6 lab tests of higher cost.
Along with it, physicians were usually too open towards intervention. Around 81% of them reported exercise could play a vital role in improving their knowledge about the cost of healthcare and they requested cost information in real time on the predefined set of care services.
Thomas D. Sequist, MD, MPH, Atrius Health, and senior author on the research, believes in controlling over ordering of healthcare services. He added, “Our study has reported that electronic health records can play a vital role to educate doctors. Also, it can promote transparency in cost, and control the use of unnecessary ordering of lab tests. This is like adding price tags on products available in the supermarket. Once you know the price of products, you become more careful to buy them.”
Why there is a Difference in Price of Tests?
Just like the price of most goods and services vary, and so are the lab tests. In some Asian countries like USA, prices of services are already discussed with the patients before proceeding. They have a chance to negotiate the cost or deduct a service before starting the treatment.
However, patients don’t have any idea about the estimate or cost of health care procedure or service for several days or months in the US.
Once a consumer can access the upfront cost, they can easily do comparison shopping. There is a room for negotiation even in medical care.
Just like with any service or goods, it is vital to keep in mind that some things can cost higher as there is additional cost involved that you are going to pay for. Some healthcare units use special types of equipment that are found only at their center.
Does it make sense to go with cheapest Lab Test out there?
Not really! There are some valid reasons why it is better to go for an expensive lab test. First of all, you need to mention why you want to go for lower pricing and listen to the concerns of your doctor if they have any. Doctors are usually affiliated with one laboratory only. They can order tests only through that laboratory and obtain results with ease.
Due to this reason, they sometimes don’t know the competitiveness of their lab if compared to other labs outside. Hence, they don’t know about how much amount their patients could save. Even if you succeed to convince your doctor to go for a full blood test at any other facility, you will still need a physician from that particular laboratory to order your test.
Proper planning and coordination can help you save more if you need lab tests on a regular basis. The same situation can take place in case of prescription medications. Pricing varies in different pharmacies. You should compare prices. Like lab tests, doctors sometimes use only one pharmacy and they often don’t know how reasonable their pharmacy is compared to third-party pharmacies.
Is there any room to avoid unnecessary lab tests and to improve Lab Testing?
At Johns Hopkings University and other reputable organizations, new research reveals how repetitive lab testing is expensive and unnecessary for patients. A constant sampling of blood could also cause a lot of health complications like anemia from the hospital.
According to a research published in the journal of JAMA Internal Medicine, the unnecessary sampling of blood can affect the hemoglobin count of a patient and it often causes repeat testing unnecessarily. Hence, at least 20% of hospitalized patients can develop anemia from a moderate to severe level. Then, this spiral may cause further unwanted interventions, tests, and costs.
Impact on lab tests quality and value
The faculties and residents of the High-Value Practice Academic Alliance are the ones who conduct research. The HVPAA is a consortium of over 80 medical institutions which collaborate to lead healthcare quality on a large scale.
According to the research, unnecessary lab tests can have an adverse impact on the value of healthcare providing by the hospitals. When tests don’t cost hospitals a lot on their own. Also, the impact is given far-reaching that such tests influence around 60% to 70% of all decisions in medical care.
In addition, the minor costs also add up on these tests. After being admitted to the hospital, patients routinely undergo a lot of lab tests, even without any justification. Usually, insurance providers reimburse for only those tests which have proven necessity.
So, the costs of any additional tests simply go on the funds of hospitals. A lot of routine medical tests are not necessary for the patients but they still get them. Healthcare Finance News reports reducing unnecessary lab tests have nothing to do with missing diagnosis or frequent readmission to hospitals.
No more unnecessary tests
Repetitive testing can affect patients in terms of false positives, overdiagnosis, overtreatment and excessive testing. Here are some of the main causes of overtesting and overtreatment in hospital settings–
- Patient Calls
- Financial benefits
- Fear of being sued and doing too little
It is very difficult to know a plan of action. However, there are two ways recommending by HVPAA –
- Design educational initiatives across hospitals that are backed by data to standardize.
- Outline the best medical approaches for blood tests and allied services.
- Make target numbers to reduce orders of lab tests and provide quick feedback to healthcare providers.
- Some providers order laboratory blood test, in response to their own ordering behavior. They know about their patterns and let go of such habits.
Be sure healthcare providers are able to justify the reasons for each lab test they are going to order. If they are unable to do so, they don’t have to perform the test. It is simply expensive unnecessarily and it can affect patients in long run.
How to Manage and Improve Blood Work Process?
When tests are usually conducting by several labs, it is not so easy to figure out who is testing what. Apart from managing data from such tests, all of the tests should have the following process:
- Schedule, and track well.
Hence, each test and data should find and aggregate for analysis.
Keeping Reports up-to-date in the Cloud
There are different futuristic organizations adopting cloud management to assign tasks to both external and internal labs. Cloud computing is widely using to track, map and schedule blood work with quick updates.
Healthcare organizations can access the data on the go by storing it in the cloud. This can improve collaboration with external labs and partners. Planning and communication can be the further improvement to better track, schedule and collate more easily.
Similarly, it may approve and review the decision along the process, from one platform to other integrated, clear insight into all the workflows. Thanks to the cutting-edge data management program, organizations can save more time on administration and analyze any data which is generated.
To improve the final product, proper utilization of data is the key result of effective data management. It can collect and order information. Therefore, organizations can easily know what ingredients are needed for modification of the product. Also, there are some authoritative bodies have their own benchmarks for lab testing.
Organizations using cutting-edge data management program can embed tests and rules when it comes to assigning workflows to labs. It also can manage the important data, time-saving and improving the productivity of medical staff.
Cloud-based software products have literally become the benchmark in the healthcare industry. These solutions can track, assign, convey and capture data in different locations efficiently to enhance all aspects of the lab testing process. Well, you just have to pick the right system.
Promoting Aggregation of Data
Along with managing the testing part of tracking, scheduling, and communication, healthcare units should find and aggregate all data. The Cloud-based lab test management software combines test ordering, test management and collaboration to address the challenges in the analysis by defining how data is reported.
At the beginning of any process, automating the requirements of data capturing saves time. Also, the advanced lab test management software can have dedicated features to visualize the regular lab tests process.
It gives a complete overview of the work to the researchers from start to finish. Some of these tests help generate a lot of data which is needed to analyze the specific experience. The key here is to formatting and organizing data in an easily digestible way.
Software Modifications can save costs and reduce the chances of unnecessary lab tests
When patients have to go through multiple lab tests as part of their admission process, they will definitely question why or how could their healthcare providers choose those tests for them. Medical professionals are widely using electronic media systems which list all of the lab tests where medical professionals can go for.
A researcher from the University of Missouri along with her staff have surveyed how these lists are modified. Also, to ensure healthcare experts omit unwanted lab tests, which could result in lower cost for patients and better care for them.
Victoria Shaffer, assistant professor in MU School of Health Professionals who specialize in health sciences, said, “Ordering several lab tests may lead to unneeded testing and also wreck havoc on patient’s health by causing financial stress and physical discomfort.
By changing the way the lists were designed by the electronic order set, we could change both the quality and number of lab tests that are ordered by clinical staff.”
About the Research
The research team of Shaffer conducted research on how doctors selected lab tests with three designs of order setlist on the same electronic system.
- The first design includes an opt-in model which has no lab tests assigned. Also, it is a standard mode of lab test ordering in health records for a lot of healthcare units.
- The second order set design includes a model which has a requirement for physicians to de-select the tests that are not relevant.
- In the last design, only a couple of tests are selected previously on the basis of pediatric experts’ recommendations.
Clinicians ordered three other tests on average with the opt-out version rather than the recommended or opt-in versions. However, healthcare providers ordered more tests suggested by pediatricians with the suggested design than opt-in design.
Shaffer added, “The findings are showing that with default selections, either with recommending or opt-out method, Lab tests were ordered by physicians. Clinicians ordered more numbers of tests recommended by experts through these methods. But these approaches includes costs. It costs $71 more for each patient by using opt-out methods. With a set of defaults recommending, it lowers the costs but needs consensus.
Shaffer is also an assistant professor in MU College of Arts and Science’s Psychological Sciences division. According to him, IT experts should work with experts engaged in studying the interaction of people with medical professionals and technology to further improve software and come up with the best product.
It is important for them to work together and come out with systems to provide the best performance and care for patients. There are different methods which could improve lab tests software. Also, ensuring to order only the most relevant lab tests and save money in the long term.
How Lab Test Software can help Save Money?
Lab test software can enhance the quality of data in a lab setting and also provide significant time and cost savings. Those savings can result in better access and automation to the lab data. The lab test software can provide a lot of opportunities to save on cost for laboratories.
Here are some of the common examples –
- Improvement in turnaround time and sampling.
- Better reporting quality as well as advance distribution/generation.
- The better readiness of audit and regulatory compliance
- Electronic links and other computer systems like ERP/MRP systems
These improvements can save costs significantly, such as –
- Spot problems along the process sooner and it can correct faster
- Improved raw material monitoring for better result quality
These benefits can affect the approval of the project but it is also vital to recognize intangible benefits which can save the cost. Also, can use as background information to promote approval of the project, such as –
- Constant access to test methods
- Procedural consistency
- Image of new recruits and external clients
- Better information for planning and decision making
It is important to do the following things to detect changes in cost savings –
- To Determine the current situation
o Determine key areas
o Quantify test and sample outcome
o Analyze the flow of work
o Detect bottlenecks of productivity
- Consider business objectives in future
o New technology
o Management goals
o The arrival of new MRP/ERP systems
o Regulatory pressure
- Assign data in a sensible form
- Know the key areas which will benefit from lab test software
- Calculate how much amount could save in each area after this software is introducing.
Of course, the last step is very challenging and achievable in enough detail as you feel vital with the help of studies of time and motion type.
A lab test is recommended constantly for patients who are hospitalized. It’s especially true for intensive care where patients are recommended to go through blood test frequently with phlebotomy complications.
When part of this test determines changes in the detailed status of ICU patients. There are few other tests run by following guidelines by default and are not driven by patient-centric questions. Heavy use of lab tests increases utilization of the resource. Hence, it plays a vital role in blood loss and is obtaining without an order of the physician.
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