A doctor writes an order for a service like an MRI. She hands it to the patient, who stuffs it into his pocket and walks out of the doctor’s office. What happens next? The answer, if you’re honest, is anyone’s guess. Will the patient get the MRI? The doctor won’t know unless her office calls the imaging center. Will the MRI be performed as per physician instructions? Who knows? Will her office get the results of the MRI? Maybe, but that might take a call, too. This is a not a good way to run a medical practice or an imaging center business. It’s also a really bad way to practice medicine.
The Results of Traditional Medical Service Order Management
Traditional electronic ordering, where no one in the process has much of an idea of what’s going on, leads to demonstrable problems in the medical field. For instance, a high percentage of exams are rescheduled due to inappropriate patient preparation, orders being poorly communicated as well as orders simply being lost. Based on our research, non-transparent order management leads to:
- On average, 25 – 50% of ordering physicians not knowing if their patients ever actually saw a specialist or had a service performed
- 3 out of every 10 tests having to be reordered because the original test results got lost
- Only 54% of faxed referrals actually resulting in scheduled appointments with the specialist or service provider
- Roughly 80% of all serious medical errors—being caused by miscommunication in care transitions to different care settings
- 20% of all malpractice claims stemming from missed or delayed diagnoses due to deficits in hand-offs between providers
What is Order Transparency?
Order transparency is the reverse of this common but unfortunate scenario. A transparent medical order, which is invariably digital in nature, is one that all key participating the process can see at any time as the service is ordered and then fulfilled. Redoing the MRI order situation, now in transparent mode, looks like this:
- The physician places the order electronically
- The patient gets instructions email, followed up by text reminders. The email contains all the information the patient needs to get to the imaging center and prepare for the MRI
- The imaging center receives the order, which includes special instructions for the MRI
- When the imaging center finishes the service, it notifies the doctor by email that the MRI has been performed. The doctor can access the results online.
In addition, the billing department can see the order. This smooths out potential conflicts and errors that arise as a service order makes it way from delivery to payment.
How to Make Orders Transparent
Automated online order management is the best way to make orders transparent. There are alternatives, but they tend to create as many problems as they solve. With iOrder, for example, the doctor can place the order in queue via a browser-based interface. Everyone is on the same page. If there are questions or problems, they can be addressed before they create bigger issues. People get notified about the status of the order in real time. The patient gets the care they deserve. Everyone benefits.