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Fight Alert Fatigue: Mobilizing Critical Labs

Though hospitals have access to an ever-increasing number of technology tools, laboratory departments still struggle to optimize critical value reporting. Today, lab results compete with a cacophony of alerts and alarms that follow physicians throughout the day.

Unfiltered data in the clinical space has given rise to alert fatigue, which can cripple a physician’s clinical productivity.

  • Primary care physicians received 79.6 notifications and spent more than one hour responding to EHR alerts on average per day, according to a 2016 Medscape study.
  • While some alerts can be life saving, physicians consider most alerts excessive. Clinicians reported ignoring safety notifications between 49 percent and 96 percent of the time, according to a Harvard Medical School study.

Identifying True Criticals
Labs can improve critical value results reporting by following documented best practices, such as validating their list of critical values. A clinical collaboration platform vendor can support the process by working with hospital systems to identify true criticals so that only meaningful critical values are reported.

For example, a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy will have a white blood count below critical values. Notifying the oncologist that the patient has a low white blood cell count after every blood test is unnecessary because this is a known side effect of chemotherapy.

When only critical lab results needed for real-time patient care are routed through the clinical collaboration platform, hospitals realize two benefits: Alert fatigue is dramatically reduced, and when critical lab alerts do come through, the clinician takes notice and acts immediately.

Historically, clinicians retrieve important clinical information via email notification or phone calls. But busy clinicians may not check email for hours and are often difficult to track down by phone. With automated lab results delivered to mobile devices within moments of completion, physicians can make faster and more informed treatment decisions.

Lab Results in Real-Time
Getting critical and stat lab results to the ordering clinician in real time leads to faster care coordination and improved outcomes. With a comprehensive clinical collaboration platform solution, results messages are monitored, allowing the lab manager to see which messages have been read and acted upon, and which messages were escalated. Exceptions or results that are not read within a specific timeframe are visible, and the manager can take appropriate action to make sure the results are delivered in a timely manner.

Phone tag, pages and other asynchronous communication are time-consuming and inefficient methods of closing the loop on critical and stat lab results reporting. A clinical collaboration platform that integrates with labs can make this workflow effortless, resulting in better care coordination. Download Insight