Pacific Northwest physicians to benefit from electronic lab services via Pointshare

Spokane 25 January 1999 Doctors find themselves under a heavy work pressure nowadays, which forces them to see more patients in less time. On the other hand, the physician is losing precious time gathering all the clinical and administrative data he needs by hand. Health care professionals are drowning in paper and still often lack valuable information to offer the patient the best medical care possible. Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories (PAML) constitutes one of the few health care organizations in the Northwest making use of medical intranets and online services to deal with the acute issue of the ever growing administrative load on physicians. In conjunction with Pointshare, PAML is providing doctors with an ideal solution to obtain essential patient results at the very moment they are available.

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Doctors find themselves under a heavy work pressure nowadays, which forces them to see more patients in less time. On the other hand, the physician is losing precious time gathering all the clinical and administrative data he needs by hand. Health care professionals are drowning in paper and still often lack valuable information to offer the patient the best medical care possible. Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories (PAML) constitutes one of the few health care organizations in the Northwest making use of medical intranets and online services to deal with the acute issue of the ever growing administrative load on physicians. In conjunction with Pointshare, PAML is providing doctors with an ideal solution to obtain essential patient results at the very moment they are available.

Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories is active in the field of pathology and reference laboratory services to assist doctors, hospitals and health care professionals in the Northwest. Recently, PAML has decided to partner with Pointshare for the electronic transmission of lab test orders and outcomes between its headquarters in Spokane and practitioners' offices in the Pacific Northwest. Pointshare is a Bellevue-based specialist provider of medical intranets and online services. The agreement organizes the delivery of Web-based medical services to PAML's physician customers over a secure and private network.

The major advantage of the online lab results delivery service for the doctor consists in the substantial amount of time-saving that is realized between the instant of ordering the test and obtaining the final results. At present, almost any test report received by a physician in the United States is printed on paper and sent by dedicated printer, courier, fax or mail. In comparison with the innovative online service, this type of document distribution is far too slow and inefficient. The Pointshare service nicely succeeds in bringing the lab results immediately to the physician's desktop computer.

The online procedure perfectly suits the classical workflow system, applied in the practitioner's office. The doctor is still free to decide whether he wants to receive lab reports on paper. On the other hand, the physician by all means has the option to obtain lab results by secure e-mail, fax and even as direct data stream input into an electronic patient record system. In addition, the doctor can forward specific patient results electronically to his colleagues for further advice. In this way, the patient is likely to receive the best possible care. Whenever necessary, the doctor can refer the patient much quicker to the appropriate specialist.

Better and faster informed doctors tend to make more accurate and thus cost-saving medical decisions for their patients. The computer screen tells the instant truth on lab test results without the patient's paper chart ever entering into the game. The Pointshare online service contributes in a very practical way to the welfare of both the physician and the patient as well as of the entire Washington state health care community. Medical companies in the Northwest region are eager to follow the PAML example. The number of health care organizations aiming to benefit from the advantages of online technology is rising fast.


Leslie Versweyveld

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