January 3, 2019

Calculate wasted time in point-of-care testing

The most important aspects of new healthcare automation tools are twofold: first, caregiving must benefit and second the organization must…

The most important aspects of new healthcare automation tools are twofold: first, caregiving must benefit and second the organization must realize a positive return on investment (ROI).

Relaymed eliminates manual entry of point-of-care test results into the EHR via automation, thereby allowing a calculation of the time saved which can be equated in dollars. This meets the two most important aspects of healthcare automation and can be utilized to demonstrate ROI because Relaymed frees staff to work on more value-adding tasks and enables providers to spend quality time with patients.

Staff time saving

How long does it take a staff member to manually enter an in-house lab test result into the EHR?

The time to enter a result will vary depending on the test type, but entering values will always include work within the EHR with multiple screens to navigate and clicks to make, not to mention the time needed to double check the transcription is correct.

In a time study of documenting urinalysis results conducted by the University of Louisville, they found an average of 3.5 minutes per test. It may seem on the surface a long time but consider all the steps the staff member needs to go through to just enter a test result.

  1. Look up patient
  2. Open lab order
  3. Enter individual UA result
  4. Flag abnormalities
  5. Submit

But for the purposes of our ROI calculator, we’ve used a value that simply can’t be argued with. So for test types like urinalysis or CBC with >10 values to enter we’ve conservatively set that at 2 minutes. And with all these steps, even a test type like HbA1c with a single numerical result can conservatively be determined to take a staff member a minimum of 1 minute to result in the EHR.

Provider time saving

To calculate the provider time saving we need to consider what happens if they do not have the result available in the EHR when they need it? They have to leave the exam room and then circle back to the patient later to review the results. Or they’ll need to come to the lab area and take the printout from the analyzer and return to the patient.

All of this wastes provider time. In this time other patients are waiting to see the provider. The extended time for a single patient visit further disrupts the clinic productivity and workflow.

Providers spend time educating patients about the tests they are going to order AND then at another moment spend time on reviewing the test results (i.e. they left and returned to the room). Any time a physician re-enters a room, there is duplication of information sharing and there are more questions asked by the patient. Consider how much time is spent in duplicative discussions.

This “double dip” is hugely inefficient. Instead with Relaymed, by having the test pop up in the EHR while they are still in the room finishing the visit, they can consolidate the time spent educating the patient about the test and reviewing the results of the test afterwards all at the SAME time.

How much time is spent circling back between exam rooms? Or walking to the lab area to check on test results? Imagine how fascinating the time and motion studies would be to watch! With Relaymed, as soon as the test is performed on the analyzer, it is instantly available in the EHR. This means that the provider has the results available when they first enter the room to see the patient. This optimizes efficiency and workflow so we can extrapolate the time savings for the ROI.

With paper printouts, the provider would see the patient and make their decision. But then afterwards, once the result had been posted to the EHR, they would have to sign off on it all over again, even though they’d already seen it. This admin is often spent after hours, in what’s otherwise known as “pajama time”. An AMA study found family doctors spend 86 minutes of pajama time with EHRs nightly.

Again, we sought to use a value that can’t be disputed with in time savings. Given all of the above evidence we have conservatively worked with a provider time saving of 1 minute per lab test to be calculated as part of the ROI.

Calculate wasted time

We have built an ROI Calculator so you can see the staff and provider time and cost savings that can be gained from an automated results workflow with Relaymed.

The ROI Calculator is designed to be a very simple, high level tool in order to quickly demonstrate to decision makers. There are more financial gains that can be earned through automation with Relaymed that you can work out for your practice. We explore this in our ebook.

Get the ebook

Another example according to a recent blog article by Allscripts, is practices could be missing out on up to 20% of test billing revenues as all tests are not being recorded in the EHR today. In a busy practice a common scenario is for staff to jot down results or pull a printout from a device and physically take the results to the waiting provider. It’s easy to imagine then how often and how easily these test results get misplaced and never make it into the EHR. Implementing Relaymed would immediately resolve that.

An AAFP article “is your practice billing what it should” posed the question could you forget to bill for CLIA waived lab tests, even though your supplier charged you for the test kits? Their suggestion was to use a back-up system for capturing lab charges, by maintaining a log of all tests performed and to have your billing staff review that log to make sure all lab tests were charged. Relaymed is your digital log.

The math

Of course there are some assumptions that we’ve made to build our ROI Calculator:

  • How much does a staff member cost? We took an average of $16/hr for the staff who perform the tests: LPNs, RNs, MAs and Lab Techs
  • How much does a provider cost? The AAFP published the results from a 2015 report into physician compensation. They found that the average salary for a Primary Care Provider (PCP) was $195,000. From this we can extrapolate a rate of $128.97/hr which is $2.15/min. It is worth noting that this is a simple figure, which does not take into account any additional overheads for insurance etc.
  • How many clinic days? We worked with 18, to allow us to then extrapolate the monthly and annual figures from the daily test volumes entered.

Go calculate

You can now quickly and easily see for yourself in our ROI Calculator the potential time and cost savings from implementing Relaymed.

Use the calculator

But remember the real bottom line — better caregiving.

Further Reading

You may also be interested in one of the following articles.