Linking Lab Results with Electronic Health Records

New initiative will help physicians get real-time test results

A new initiative seeks to encourage adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and facilitate electronic delivery of laboratory results to clinicians in the office setting. The EHR-Lab Interoperability and Connectivity Standards (ELINCS) project is developing a national standard for the real-time reporting of lab data to EHRs.

Working on an aggressive timeframe established by an expert steering committee, the ELINCS project aims to develop the new standard within six to nine months. Then the standard would be adopted by electronic health record vendors and laboratories across the nation within another nine months.

“The ability to access lab results in real time means that physicians should be able to make medically appropriate decisions earlier in the course of patient care than with the current lab notification process,” said ELINCS steering committee member John Tooker, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.P., who also serves as executive vice president and CEO of the American College of Physicians. “The ELINCS national standard may also spur adoption of electronic health record technology as physicians realize the tangible benefits of timely access to laboratory results and reduced installation and configuration costs.”

Other steering committee members include senior executives from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS); the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA); the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA); the EHR Vendor Association (EHRVA); the National Alliance for Health Information Technology (NAHIT); and Health Level Seven (HL7).

ELINCS will work closely with other national and international efforts to develop clinical data standards for EHRs to ensure widespread adoption of its standard. These include the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT); Connecting for Health (Markle Foundation); eHealth Initiative (eHI); DOQ-IT (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services); Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE); Public Health Information Network (CDC/PHIN); and Health Level Seven (HL7).

“Reliable, timely delivery of results from laboratories directly into the electronic health record systems of physician offices and clinics is absolutely essential,” said Mark Leavitt, M.D., Ph.D., HIMSS medical director. “I’m very pleased to see ELINCS tackling this project and making such rapid progress.”

ELINCS is funded and convened by the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF). “Supporting efforts to move electronic health records forward means improved patient safety and quality of care in the clinical setting,” said Sophia Chang, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Chronic Disease Care Program at CHCF.

More information about ELINCS can be found online through the link below.

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About the California Health Care Foundation

The California Health Care Foundation is dedicated to advancing meaningful, measurable improvements in the way the health care delivery system provides care to the people of California, particularly those with low incomes and those whose needs are not well served by the status quo. We work to ensure that people have access to the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford.