Four Pathology Reporting Software Must-Haves
Evaluating pathology reporting software can be harder than expected for today’s diagnostic laboratories. As reporting software comes in all different shapes and sizes, a lab must choose which is best for them; on-premises or cloud-hosted, what capabilities they need and which ones they do not, what will need to be integrated, the list goes on.
It comes with no surprise that laboratory leaders from directors to chief medical officers put a high priority on the reports they produce. Making the decision to choose the right solution that much more important. Not to mention, the demands put on pathology laboratories continue to rise while reimbursements continue to decrease.
To ensure you do, here are four capabilities that every reporting software should have (if they don’t – just scream NEEEXXXTTT and move on).
1. Accessioning to Storage Specimen Tracking
When it comes to producing accurate, error-free reporting, leveraging the automation that comes from barcoding and tracking is critical.
Identifying and tracking specimens from accessioning to storage enables the lab to know where all samples are at any given point in time. In addition, makes sure technicians are matching samples to the right case and patient.
Pathology labs that rely on handwriting, excel, or other manual efforts not only force technicians into inefficient and time-consuming workflows, but they also increase the risk of errors being made, increasing TATs and costs.
Source: The effects of digital workflow control for the performance of routine pathology
As specimen tracking is a baseline capability for any pathology reporting software, you still must do your diligence on which software is right for your lab as they’re not all the same. Some questions you should be asking include:
- How far does the system track a specimen? Does it stop tracking once it hits the pathologist’s desk? Or is the specimen tracked all the way to storage so you can easily retrieve it if needed?
- What does it actually track? Can it track, samples, tubes, boxes, and cassettes?
- Can it flag for when more supplies are needed?
- What happens if the wrong specimen is added to the wrong case or even cassette?
Pathology reporting systems that do not track specimens to storage leave a gap within the workflow. After the specimen leaves the pathologist’s desk, it may have to travel to a whole other location to be stored. In this case, how will one know if a specimen was lost, dropped, or broken in transit?
2. 100% Customizable Reports
Pathology labs have demanding clients that want reports produced in very specific ways. Labs need the ability to customize pathology reports in any way to meet their client’s needs. That’s why any pathology reporting software you choose must offer flexible and 100% customizable templates that allow labs to:
- Support multiple templates and layouts to cater to your clients
- Prioritize key information
- Explain complex information easily
- Add Images
- Include anatomical diagrams
- Export in any format desirable, PDF, Word, etc.
In addition, The pathology reporting software you chose should easily allow physicians access to patient results enabling value-based care. This too is no longer a want but a standard in today’s reporting tools.
Finally, the reporting software should make it easy to add details to simplify or summarize information for physicians and patients to view.
3. Integration and Interoperability
Pathology reporting software should seamlessly integrate across the entire lab — from stainers to analyzers to EHRs, to billers and state registries – eliminating disparate systems. Since health systems use a variety of systems, your reporting software needs to be versatile enough to connect to them.
When looking at a system, make sure interoperability is included. If not, you’ll have to interact with other providers. In turn, making your IT infrastructure more complex. Now, this may not be a bad thing, but it certainly is one more thing to think about.
Good questions to ask about interoperability include:
- What interfaces do you already have built out? HL7? APIs? FHIR?
- How many transactions can it handle in a day?
- Is it bi-directional connectivity? If so, does that cost more?
- How do you secure the transactions?
4. Easy to Use and Scalable
When it comes to pathology reporting, cloud-based solutions allow for simple and secure access from any location via the internet. And better, these solutions don’t require a virtual private network (VPN). Because cloud-based pathology reporting software doesn’t require servers, it eliminates the need for additional on-site space or an in-house team to manage the technology.
We all know the key requirement for any pathologist when reviewing a new system is “LESS CLICKS”. The reporting tool you select should be easy to use. By easy to use we mean:
- Have preconfigured stains based on the workflows
- Voice dictations throughout the whole process not just in grossing
- Release reports with one click
- Capture images with one click
- Comprehensive keyboard commands
- Auto-assign workloads
Cloud-based solutions, like NovoPath 360 also make it easy to grow with your business. You can quickly adjust workflows and processes to add users and accommodate new testing needs.
Understand What’s Possible
Want to explore all the possibilities with pathology reporting? Download our e-book for samples of what pathology reports can look like with NovoPath 360.