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Pathology West

Pathology West integrates devices into point-of-care (PoC) testing

Pathology West, a public laboratory network of NSW Health Pathology, is becoming a leader in delivering care with point-of-care testing (PoCT).

After integrating cutting edge devices into its electronic health record (EHR), Pathology West drastically increased its volume of PoC tests. Since November 2013, the number of pathology results fed directly into the EHR increased between 50 – 98 percent across the network.

Pathology West’s 27 laboratories are on one integrated, standardised PathNet® Millennium platform. Its EHR delivers pathology results across six local health districts covering over 112 facilities, 500 general practices (GPs), 2,900 individual general practitioners and more than 2.2 million people in the Australian State of New South Wales (NSW).

Yet, managing the health of the population becomes far more complex as pathology services merge across the country – especially when over 70 percent of diagnoses are based on a pathology test result.

In December 2013, Pathology West teamed up with Kansas City, Mo.-based Cerner Corporation to launch the NSW Health Pathology statewide PoCT program. The program implemented 200 devices across 96 EDs, ranging from Blood Gas Analysers to i-STATs. Capturing a range of chemistry and haematology tests, they automatically feed the results into the EHR via middle-ware to support rapid diagnosis, clinical decision making and care management.

“As the emerging trend towards point-of-care testing continues worldwide, Pathology West has put pathology back at the center,” said Juliana Iles-Mann, Information Communication Technology (ICT) Manager.

“Integrated devices arm our clinicians with real-time results to improve care, and help prevent patient transfers to larger, regional hospitals.”

Hospitals across the network are achieving impressive results. By October 2015, the total volume of PoC tests reached over 22,000 in ten months.

The financial benefits are also substantial. Since January 2014, Pathology West cut both the number of call-backs and associated charges related to PoCT by 24 percent.

Although pleased with their progress, leaders at Pathology West remain focused on one objective. “It’s all about the patient - direct care, accessibility and equity,” explained Ms. Iles-Mann.

The patient stories speak for themselves. A 26-year-old female presented to ED feeling unwell. Staff ran a PoC troponin test which uncovered a pulmonary embolism. Staff immediately initiated a treatment plan which prevented her condition from deteriorating. Both a transfer to the hospital and the associated cost were avoided.

“It’s about what we can do in pathology,” said Ms. Iles-Mann, “to directly impact how a patient feels on their journey through our healthcare system.”

Pathology West is making strides to becoming the largest PoCT provider in NSW – with its state-wide implementation being, quite possibly, one of the largest in the world.

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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.