Capturing data at the point of care is becoming even more important in value-based care. Below are two examples of improvements that have been made at healthcare facilities through the introduction of a POCT connectivity solution. Both facilities saved a significant amount of technologist time and labor costs, reduced the likelihood of manual errors, and now have their POCT data available for analytics.
POCT Connectivity Case Study: Healthcare Organization in Nebraska
The laboratory and pathology operations manager at a large multi-specialty healthcare organization in Nebraska says that one of the biggest challenges involved in the oversight of POCT is the fact that testing is commonly performed by a multitude of non-laboratory trained personnel. And, while these may be top employees, it can be difficult to train them about the importance of proper QC, documentation, and other laboratory-focused regulatory requirements. The ability to remotely manage certifications and QC can be of great value to a busy manager who has the added task of POCT oversight.
Time Wasted Manually Typing in Glucose Results
The facility uses several different POCT devices, and testing is performed by hundreds of end users from lab, nursing, and radiology. Before integrating POCT glucose, it was spending a significant amount of time manually entering thousands of glucose results.
Implementation of wireless integration and automatic downloading of results has been huge for us because we were spending a great deal of time entering results that can now be spent on other tasks.
– Laboratory and Pathology Operations Manager
The phlebotomists were manually typing in about 50 glucose results from approximately 20 glucose devices every day, plus several more periodically. Time spent documenting these results at the bedside, traveling down to the lab to enter the results, and verifying the manually entered results to meet regulatory requirements took a significant amount of time and introduced opportunity for manual entry errors.
Nearly $40,000 Saved in Staff Time
After the facility’s connectivity solution was in place, inefficiency due to manual entry of results was eliminated. “Connectivity saves us up to two hours per day that we can now use to be more productive, not to mention the errors we have eliminated,” says the laboratory and pathology operations manager.
If you take this example and extrapolate the potential savings, within a large healthcare facility, this can add up to a substantial amount. For instance, in a large teaching hospital, annual bedside glucose testing volumes approach 70,000/year. If each glucose takes one minute to be manually entered, this is equivalent to 1,167 hours of staff time. Multiply that by an average Medical Assistant (MA) salary of $12/hour, and this equates to about $14,000 per year spent in labor costs associated with the manual entry of bedside glucose testing. If you calculate this using the average Medical Technologist (MT) hourly wage of $31/hour, it equates to $36,177 per year spent typing in glucose results.
POCT Connectivity Case Study: 365-bed Hospital in Ohio
The business manager of ancillary services at a large 365-bed hospital, where approximately 500 staff members perform POCT, shares that prior to implementing a connectivity solution, POCT operators were either manually typing results into the EHR or scanning in instrument printouts or worksheets.
Time Wasted in Manually Typing in UA Results
The team did a time study to track the savings associated with having its POCT urinalysis (UA) results electronically integrated. Because a UA contains 10 or more components that need to be entered, on average, this takes a staff member 2.5 minutes per UA. For every 24 UAs, in addition to the time it takes to perform the testing, manually entering results adds an hour of tech time.
More than 3,300 Hours/Year Wasted Typing in Manual Results
To put this in perspective, the team performs about 80,000 urinalyses each year. If you multiply that volume by 2.5 minutes, that adds up to 200,000 minutes or 3,333 hours spent manually entering results just for that one lab test. If we estimate the average MA salary for entering results as $12/hour, this means that the laboratory has $40,000/year of staff time allocated to this task alone.
Scanned “Blobs” Mean No Data Mining
Furthermore, to avoid the labor-intensive method of manually ordering and entering UA results, some of the facility’s testing locations scan the UA printouts from the analyzer or handwrite results on manual logs and scan these into the EHR. The business manager is quick to point out, “In these cases, there is no data mining for POCT, because scanning does not provide discrete data.” The lab team is excited about eliminating this tedious, error-prone task and gaining the efficiencies brought on by a comprehensive POCT management and connectivity solution. The new POCT connectivity solutions reduce errors associated with the manual entry of results and track operator competency assessments. “In a healthcare organization of our size and diversity, it is nearly impossible to accurately track certification without software support. We are looking forward to having a powerful POCT connectivity solution to help us monitor this as we go forward,” said the business manager.
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