October 10, 2018

Solving POCT Challenges Following Physician Practice Acquisition

Alongside the various changes to the healthcare landscape in the United States is a growing shift away from independent physician…

Alongside the various changes to the healthcare landscape in the United States is a growing shift away from independent physician practices. Each year, an increasing share of physician-owned practices are being acquired by health systems. But what does this mean for point-of-care testing (POCT)? And who is responsible for it?

Has physician practice acquisition given you POCT nightmares?

Health systems employ POC Coordinators to oversee testing. However, more sites mean more potential POCT slipups with less visibility. It seems that this part of the acquisition process is being forgotten, which has serious implications on health systems’ revenues and reputation.

There are a number of regulatory and administrative burdens associated with POCT, which must be adhered to. When you acquire new testing sites you can potentially add hundreds of miles between locations within a health system, giving POC Coordinators an impossible task.

So what can they do to remedy this?

Ensuring POCT compliance in outlying facilities

POC Coordinators are employed to run testing smoothly and efficiently at all locations throughout a health system. Their responsibilities include ensuring consistent standards, quality, compliance and monitoring of all POC activities across their organization. The trend of acquiring physician practices has created an additional complexity in their busy schedules — given their sheer number and geographic distribution. Without centralized visibility, this task is impossible.

A contributing factor to the difficulty of assimilating physicians practices into health systems is the existing POC management tools. Those that are commonly used throughout inpatient and hospital settings are not easily scaled up and are prohibitively expensive for use in an outpatient setting. This problem persists when health systems have centralized labs that use a laboratory information system (LIS).

However, the benefits of acquiring a physician practice remain — notably their comparatively small Medicare spend and the potential clients they can bring to a health system.

What to do?

Integrating a practice into a health system creates a number of difficulties but it still reflects good business. So what is a POC coordinator to do?

They now have multiple additional sites conducting POCT but with no way of feasibly monitoring them. They can’t visit each site, due to distance, and don’t have the required tools to monitor the likes of QC checks and calibrations remotely. But potential issues with CLIA compliance, that can destroy revenue, will land on their desks — they have to do something.

There are 7 key issues with running effective POCT remotely:

  1. Quality Controls (QCs) — are they being run routinely and being logged accordingly? Are they being tracked for variance
  2. Calibrations — are these being logged from devices?
  3. Quality — is POC being run at a consistently high quality, informing better healthcare, improving patient outcomes and providing superior satisfaction scores?
  4. Complete information — are all test results being captured in the EHR? Can they be easily retrieved in the face of a CLIA inspection?
  5. Staff training — are all staff involved in the POC workflow sufficiently trained and knowledgeable? Have they had annual checks?
  6. Nonwaived tests — nonwaived (moderately complex) testing can put a huge strain on the staff of physician practices. They are time-consuming and risky to input manually.
  7. No standardization — have acquisitions lead to different devices being in use throughout the new network?

Ensuring compliance with these factors, throughout all practices under a health system seems impossible. This has an impact on revenues — for instance, from undocumented and unbilled tests — and tarnishes the reputation that an enterprise organization has worked hard to cultivate.

It can be done, with ease

It’s not impossible! First of all, you don’t need an LIS, they are too costly, complex and feature bloated to be of any use in a physician practice.

Yet, POC Coordinators across the nation do need a solution that will allow them to monitor POC performance remotely, with complete information and faith that the process is compliant and effective. This solution is Relaymed.

As one of our existing clients put it, you can ‘micromanage facilities without them knowing!’

We have anticipated the needs of a changing healthcare environment and created the solution that you need to give you POCT visibility and ensuring total, on-going compliance.

Relaymed solves to POC compliance headaches that come with the ever-increasing number of physician practice acquisitions. It provides complete POC connectivity while remaining affordable, scalable and easy to implement. POC data management has never been simpler — especially in the face of the associated problems and risks that come with modern changes to the healthcare environment.

Relaymed barely requires any effort or IT resource to implement and is POC device vendor neutral — we’ll work with what you already have. As we are totally scalable, you can pilot at a single location and discover the benefits for yourself, before committing at more locations or throughout your enterprise.

What’s more, each benefit that you unlock grows exponentially with each physician office you add to your enterprise, making it the perfect choice in these organizations. Schedule a 1:1 demo and discover just how easily your organization can automate POCT and benefit financially. From there, we can book staff into a short training webinar. You’ll be ready to go in no time!

 

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Further Reading

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