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Entries Tagged 'Outpatient Lab Testing' ↓

A Stick in the Arm is the Easy Part

Posted by ClearDirections on February 4th, 2011 in Communication, Inconvenience, Lack of Coordination, Outpatient Lab Testing, Time Waste | 6 Comments

You would think obtaining a standard, fasting blood draw for a 9-year-old before school would be simple, right? Wrong. After spending the morning today hearing complaints about not wanting to go to the lab to endure the prick of the needle, I successfully ushered our son out the door for a blood level check required after taking a new medication for a month. Driving through the slippery, bitter cold streets of southwestern Chicago just two days after being buried in a blizzard, we found our way to a community hospital-owned outpatient lab on the way to our son’s school.

When we arrived, we were thrilled to find just one solitary person waiting in the room to be called for his test so we could be certain to avoid being late for school. However, when we presented our lab order to the registrar, she wrinkled her nose at the order from our specialist at Children’s Memorial Hopsital. Because the order had been generated by Children’s EMR and did not have a physical signature on it, the registrar’s policy said she could not accept it. I explained that the order is just as it was when I received it from our physician, however that was not sufficient for her policy. So, we left without the test as I groaned about the wasted angst for our son. The other half of this equation is that my husband had to delay his arrival at work to take our daughter to school (who would never be ready to leave earlier than necessary for school!). What a waste of his time, as well.

After this disappointment, I called our specialist’s office and the staff member there said “we don’t have this problem with any other labs.” I apologized and asked her to track down our physician to get her to physically sign the paper and fax it to our testing facility that is geographically convenient for a fasting test tackled before school during the week. She also recommended we could have the test performed in the western suburbs at a Children’s facility 35 minutes away without question. By this time, I calculated that one testing facility’s outdated policy had cost three people (the registrar, our son and myself) 20 minutes of wasted time at the facility this morning plus my husband’s lost 30 minutes at work this morning. Couple that with the Children’s staff member who took the call I wrote about and a few others in between (add 10 minutes X 2) plus the time to bother the specialist for a signature (3 minutes) and we have at least 113 minutes of life due to lack of electronic seamless discussion in healthcare.

We need to prevent this waste within the system and create a better outpatient registration experience through a higher level of coordination and communication. I invite you to share your ideas and suggestions for improving these types of situations as I know I am not the only person who experiences these. Clear Directions for Healthcare is dedicated to destroying this inefficiency in the U.S. heatlhcare system.

If you have ideas for improving America’s healthcare, I invite you to continue the dialogue here or send us a 2-minute video response that we’ll review for our video podcast. Let’s “crowdsource” our way to better healthcare for all of America. Join us!