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Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital

Reference lab interface: Improving the physician experience

Al Jalila Children’s is the first dedicated children’s hospital in the United Arab Emirates. The state-of-the-art medical facility was created under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai, to affirm his belief that all children should have an equal opportunity for success in life, and the treatment of children suffering from illness or disease should not be subject to geographical chance. In 2016, the hospital made a strategic partnership with Cerner Middle East to manage its IT services and implement world-class electronic health record (EHR) system, Cerner Millennium®.

The challenge

Many of the specialized laboratory investigations placed by Al Jalila Children’s physicians are performed in an external reference lab – NRL. Every time physicians place a lab order that is performed in the reference lab, the specimen is collected in the hospital, documented in the reference lab’s web portal called WebConnect, and sent to the lab for resulting.

The reference lab then receives specimens, performs the required tests and publishes results in the web portal. Once published, Al Jalila lab technicians would download the results from the web portal and scan them to Cerner Millennium manually. This caused delays in making the results available to physicians.

Additionally, physicians had to search for scanned documents and open each document to view the results. The results documented in scanned documents were not being populated into physicians’ notes automatically. The workflow was less efficient and caused unnecessary delays to viewing lab results.

The solution

NRL’s lab information system (LIS) has been integrated with Al Jalila Children's EHR, Cerner Millennium, to improve workflow efficiency of reference lab orders. The solution established bidirectional interface between Cerner and the LIS that enabled more than 300 lab investigations to automatically flow to NRL’s LIS once specimens have been collected. Also, this enables the lab results to be directly published into the result review section in PowerChart® as soon as it’s released from NRL without any manual intervention.

“Integrating laboratory test results directly into Cerner is a step forward and an important achievement. It minimizes confusion when searching for test results and helps the physician follow trends to monitor disease activity for example. I am looking forward to full and complete integration of remaining tests as well…”

Dr. Basil M. Fathalla, consultant and head of Pediatric Rheumatology, Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital


The solution improved the efficiency of reviewing lab results by making them readily available to physicians in PowerChart without any delay once published. The solution allowed physicians to find all lab results in one place, which improved the user experience and helped patient care delivery. The solution helped to save laboratory staff time spent on downloading and scanning results from WebConnect to PowerChart. The solution helped remove potential errors that could have happened while re-entering order information into WebConnect by a phlebotomist or other lab technicians.

Average total turnaround time for reference lab tests has been reduced by 57.5 percent, bringing down the average time from 7,191 minutes (standard deviation of 3,807) to 3,054 minutes (standard deviation of 1,181) per test. 2,019 minutes per test have been saved by eliminating downloading results from the portal and scanning them into the EHR.

Improving physician experience

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Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.