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Integrated technology captures profitability in lab outreach

        Front-end technology for outreach laboratories          Back-end technology for outreach laboratories

        For clients still using a manual paper system for order/results,   When laboratory providers examine the back-end process
        laboratory providers need to offer a Web portal for     during the selection of a laboratory accounts receivable (AR)
        order/results that is connected to their client’s practice   system, all too often the technology ends up in a comparison
        management system.  This also covers the challenge of   of the advantages and disadvantages, as compared to
        updating patient/insurance demographics and medical     a hospital information system (HIS).
        necessity checking on the front-end.
                                                                The HIS, which is designed to work in an inpatient/outpatient
        For clients that have—or will be implementing—an electronic   environment, is frequently selected because it’s already in
        medical record, laboratory providers must be able to connect   place and seems easier to deploy with the infrastructure
        within the client’s timeframe and still be able to update current   that’s already operational.
        patient/insurance demographics and medical necessity
        checking on the front-end.                              At first glance, this appears to have a clear advantage over
                                                                selecting, purchasing, implementing, and maintaining
        Often considered optional—but well worth having in      a separate laboratory AR system.
        place—is a courier tracking and supply management
        system to generate operational efficiencies and         It’s important to realize, however, that the tangible
        maintain transparency.                                  benefits of operating a separate AR system is wired into
                                                                the front-end process of the laboratory, the flexibility of
        The advantages of front-end technology are well understood   setup (which drives automation), and rules-based
        by laboratory management; however, for some, it remains just   workflows.
        out of reach for now, serving as a reminder that the laboratory
        may be viewed more as a traditional cost center rather than
        as a revenue generating profit center.
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