January 19, 2012

New feature helps physicians monitor patients’ test results

New feature helps physicians monitor patients’ test results

At a health practice such as Vanderbilt Medical Group, it’s common for patients to be followed by multiple providers for many different problems. Given all this parallel activity, what is the best way to handle electronic reporting of patient test results?

The “new results” feature in StarPanel (Vanderbilt’s electronic medical records system) flags all new test results for the user’s patients, regardless of who ordered the test.

VMG specialists have requested more focused reporting of test results.

“Most specialists are interested in focusing on tests they have ordered on their patients and are less interested in tests ordered by others. An example is, the neurosurgeon who removes a brain tumor does not want to sift through ongoing notifications of serum cholesterol levels ordered by another provider months after the surgery,” said Brad Kehler, O.D., assistant professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and VMG quality systems and informatics consultant.

Results4U is a new StarPanel feature that cuts through the noise for specialists, flagging new results only for patient tests ordered by the user.

“It saves a lot of time,” said Danielle Cherdak, M.D., assistant professor of Neurology. “Formerly, with the ‘new results’ tab I’d have to sort through many other physicians’ labs. That resulted in hours of extra work each week, conservatively two to three extra hours, in my estimation.”

Results4U is a project of the VMG Innovation Integration Team, also known as the I2 Team.

“This has been a missing piece for our specialists,” said Jim Jirjis, M.D., MBA, assistant chief medical officer, chief medical information officer and executive director of the VMG Innovation Integration Center.

“The I2 Team is undertaking a series of projects to help users, closing any gaps in functionality and making our existing tools work better together,” Jirjis said.

Results4U currently has more than 300 users spread among several clinical areas. Providers who immediately want to begin using it should contact their area’s clinical systems specialist.

The new tool also lets users share test results with team members and other VMG providers.

While Results4U is simple to use, some training is called for when multiple team members need routine access to a given provider’s test results. The training and rollout to the rest of VMG should be completed by the end of the year.

“Results4U can be a game changer for clinicians and patient care,” said Paul Sternberg Jr., M.D., assistant vice chancellor for Adult Health Affairs and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.

“It makes test results easily accessible, improving provider efficiency while also reducing the possibility of test results falling through the cracks. I anticipate that it will be welcomed with open arms and adopted quickly.”

The project was led by Kehler and Marla Carter, project manager with the VMG Innovation Integration Center. Other key contributors include Jirjis, Dario Giuse, Ph.D., M.S., Russ Bebe and Shilo Anders.