Precise and punctual communication between dermatology clinics and pathology labs is essential to provide patients with accurate results and swift turnaround times. Because over 90 percent of all tumors are confirmed by pathologists, physicians that utilize an EMR are increasingly interfacing with pathology laboratories to relay case results.

Integrating an EMR interface between your practice EHR and the lab can help increase operational efficiency, streamline staff workloads, and improve the quality of patient care and satisfaction.

Operational Efficiency 

Your patients expect an organized and efficient experience every time they interact with your clinic, and you can hold your laboratory to those same standards. Relying on a laboratory with outdated means of communication can negatively impact the quality of your experience, as well as impact patient care. 

Today, three out of five dermatologists have adopted an EMR into their practices. Interfacing with your laboratory’s information system takes full advantage of this record-keeping technology, creating a communication portal that instantly organizes and shares case data results. Integration into pathology reporting means clinics can use their existing EMR systems to automatically receive, review, search, and sort results on demand without additional clinic support staff involvement.

In Utah, Allen-Taintor Dermatology was used to sometimes waiting up to two weeks to receive results from the lab, which sometimes failed to send slides. Because the clinic wanted to review the slides before calling patients, this consistent issue was a concern. Once they began using PathologyWatch, Allen-Taintor Dermatology saw improved staff workflow efficiency, including a 75 percent reduction in dermatologist review time, which further improved efficiency. Patient satisfaction likewise improved because the physicians could review the results with their patients on digital slides.

System Setup

For those using an EMR in clinic, the advantages of an interface are clear. Building an interface between your EMR and the laboratory in a way that optimizes workflow efficiencies is not always straightforward and requires an experienced IT professional.

By partnering with a trusted full-service dermatopathology laboratory like PathologyWatch, clinics can rely on experienced engineers to architect their interfaces in a way that optimizes their EHR capabilities to maximize internal clinic efficiencies.  

Streamline Workloads

For many clinics, paper continues to be the gold standard for documenting and sharing records. For clinics that have moved to an EHR, however, additional benefits can be realized if your laboratory is fully integrated. For example, a well-designed interface can make handwriting requisition forms and physically making carbon copies a thing of the past. You can also reduce the probability of errors by digitally sending that information to the laboratory, as clinic data must be re-entered into the LIS and attached to the sample when received on paper forms. 

Patient Satisfaction

Delivering reliable and timely results to your patients should be a high priority for every dermatology clinic and dermatopathology laboratory. After patients have a biopsy taken, many experience an uneasy suspense while waiting for their results. This was the case for Allen-Taintor Dermatology. Once they were able to utilize digital biopsy images to show patients their pathology during visits, their high patient satisfaction increased even more. EMR interfaces and optimal laboratory processes can reduce the turnaround time from when a biopsy is taken to when a result is received, resulting in a better quality of care and patient satisfaction.

An additional benefit to patient safety and satisfaction is that interfaces can also improve data integrity and results delivery, decreasing the risk of a data entry error in both the clinic and laboratory.

In summary, building and utilizing a well-developed interface between the clinic EMR and laboratory system can help to improve operational efficiency, simplify staff workloads, and improve the quality of patient care and satisfaction.