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About Angell Animal Medical Center

Photo of Angell Animal Medical Center sign on buildingWith more than 100 veterinarians, Angell Animal Medical Center (AAMC), under the umbrella of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), is the largest animal hospital in Massachusetts. Founded in 1868 as one of the first humane organizations in America, they also serve as the state’s leading adoption and rescue center. They have several locations and partnerships across Massachusetts offering a broad array of services, including primary and emergency care, cardiology, oncology, dentistry, ophthalmology, pathology, surgery, neurology, dermatology, and behavior. The hospital has more than 100,000 visits each year, most of which are pets.

The hospital includes a large, steadily growing core laboratory with 20 employees that offers a comprehensive in-house test menu with same-day results. This fast turnaround time (TAT) allows their veterinarians to provide superior service to their patients.

Graphic showing quote from Nicole Paquette, Pathology and LIS Manager at AAMCOrchard & Angell Partner For Nearly a Decade

In 2014, after an extensive search for the right laboratory information system (LIS), AAMC partnered with Orchard Software. AAMC’s laboratory now uses Orchard® Harvest™, Orchard® Harvest™ Webstation, Orchard® Pathology, and the Orchard® Harvest™ Microbiology module. Orchard products replaced AAMC’s home-grown system that they could
no longer support.

Nicole Paquette, Pathology and LIS Manager, shared that they struggled to find a laboratory software solution that could effectively manage animal testing.

Photo of Angell Animal Medical Center staff member holding a dogOrchard Helps Angell Lab Solve Problems

Allowing veterinarians to receive same-day results was the biggest benefit AAMC received after implementing Orchard’s solutions. Instrument and electronic medical record (EMR) connectivity improved the lab’s overall efficiency and productivity and eliminated paper processes. Immediate result reporting improved veterinary satisfaction. According to Paquette, pathologists appreciate Orchard Pathology’s advanced, configurable reports that allow them to annotate and add pathology images. “The veterinary staff loves that they can get results same day without having to wait on send out tests,’’ she said. “Having a microbiology electronic work card that you can actually use to get results to the EMR without having to use a paper record is amazing.”

LIS Functionality that Supports Veterinary Lab Testing

Orchard Harvest can support species and breed, both of which are valuable data points for veterinary laboratories. At AAMC’s lab, customizable fields designate species instead of race. Reference ranges are based on species and the appropriate ranges display on reports as technologists review results.

The AAMC laboratory uses advanced configuration options (ACOs), decision support rules, and data mining tools to streamline and standardize processes. ACOs are in place for several operations such as color-coding alert values, stats, and add-ons.

AAMC also takes advantage of the inherent decision support rules in Orchard’s products to guide their lab’s processes and procedures. They use rules for pop-up reminders that inform staff—for example, a canine order was placed on a feline patient—and to automate processes. Rules help reduce errors and improve efficiency across the lab.

Graphic showing the various LIS functionalities that supports veterinary lab testing

Graphic showing illustration of two people next to a quality control listOther time-saving rules include autoverification and reflex testing—for example, lymphocyte counts greater than 10,000/uL reflex to a pathologist for review. Rules are also helpful for quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA) initiatives. While the veterinary lab is not subject to CAP inspections, they still adhere to QC and QA best practices to ensure accurate results.

Paquette appreciates that QC transmits across the interface to make QC review convenient. “In animal medicine, we’re not as regulated as human medicine, but we try and maintain ‘human standards’ and Harvest allows for that. I like the fact that there are so many rules that you can put in place for QA and QC, and you can make it as rigid or as loose as you want,” she said.

Veterinary Lab Data Mining Tracks Staffing Needs

Photo of a puppyThe data mining tools inherent in Orchard’s solution allow the AAMC laboratory to create reports whenever they need. For example, the lab tracks test volumes to look for workload changes that inform decisions about staffing requirements. They also monitor statistics that are valuable for oncology.Photo of a AAMC staff member examining a cat

Their goal TAT for oncology patients is to report the white blood cell count and absolute neutrophil count within 10 minutes after receipt. Naturally, any increase in patient caseload subsequently increases the complete blood count (CBC) volumes. By using the data mining tools in Orchard Harvest, they track the TATs and the test volumes to determine the number of staff needed in hematology each day.

“Sometimes we pull test volume to see how many CBCs we’re running in a week and see which day is the busiest,” Paquette said. “Then we can adjust staffing accordingly. We can monitor an uptick in Giardia or an increase in exotics.”

Graphic showing a quote from Nicole Paquette, Pathology and LIS Manager at Angell Animal Medical Center. "Orchard's connectivity allows our lab to report results as quickly and accurately as possible. They integration makes testing results instantly available. As soon as we're done with them, our veterinarians can see them."Achieving Goals with a Best-fit LIS

Orchard’s vet LIS has enabled AAMC to deliver lab results as fast and accurately as possible. System functionality—rules, ACOs, customizable fields—streamline processes, increase lab productivity, and positively impact TAT.

Working with the Orchard Team

“I have had positive experiences with Orchard’s support team. They’re polite and helpful, and take feedback well,” Paquette said. “Your team is super helpful and always very kind and patient.”

Going Forward

The laboratory at AAMC is rapidly outgrowing their current facility and will soon face the challenge of renovating. Paquette knows this will be a complex endeavor and that Orchard Software will gladly provide LIS support throughout the move. Paquette said she would absolutely recommend Orchard’s vet-focused products to other veterinary laboratories.