eLab proving its worth with our doctors

(Aotea News, July 2012)

As we move toward having eLab installed at all our referring medical practices by the end of the year, three general practitioners share how eLab has made their practice more efficient and effective.

Larry Jordan, Porirua

Dr Larry Jordan

"There is more consistency and reliability of information and this has resulted in fewer phone calls backwards and forwards to query information or missing bits, potential errors. There is more direct and correct transmission of information.

"We’re not having to go back and look at lab forms as frequently because they are getting processed better in the first place.

"Forms don’t have to be signed any more, and this has smoothed things out, and if forms get lost it is much easier to replace it at the point of patient attendance. There are all sorts of good things like that that have made the whole process much less error prone.

"Knowing that the labelling and patient identification is much more secure once the specimen has been sent in transit and in the lab is certainly an improvement, and the impression so far is that we are probably getting fewer invalid test procedures as a result.

"It is a pretty progressive step to joining everyone up to a modern information system."

Samantha Murton, Capital Care Health

Dr Samantha Murton

"The system makes it much easier to look for the tests you want.

"The front page has a good range of standard tests that are readily accessible and commonly used, and most of the time I use that front page, which has made things a lot easier.

"On another view, I can choose protocols for diabetes and drug monitoring and in fact I can create some of my own. So, if you have a standard set of protocols that you’d like for blood testing for people on particular drugs or doing regular tests for something, then you can set these up and then they will come up as a regular setting.

"I can still print off a form but also it instantly goes off to the laboratory. So if someone rings up then I can write up the form, and they can just turn up to the lab, and it will already be there for them -- they don’t have to come in to get the piece of paper."

Pam Olver, Brooklyn Central Health

Dr Pam Olver

"Sometimes the lab needs to know which antibiotics a patient is taking so they can then alter the way they process the specimen to give you complete information. You can let the lab know what medication they are taking so they can take that into account when they are processing the specimen.

"Cervical smears, for example, trigger off a specific cascade of tick boxes so the lab knows where the specimen was taken from and whether you need HPV testing with it and if the patient is post-menopausal and if there is any specific medication they are on. So, particularly with any abnormalities, the lab can interpret the information better and give better feedback.

"Without eLab there were far more steps involved, and we would have to phone the lab and speak to someone to pass on the info and they would have to verify and check the info and then book a time. Now, we can just do it in the course of a day’s work -- just fill it in and it goes off to the lab electronically."