Integrated patient data for optimal patient management: the value of laboratory data in quality improvement.
Managed care organizations are shifting from traditional utilization management programs to focus on initiatives that improve the health of an insured population. This strategy requires sophisticated data integration to identify at-risk individuals and track outcomes. Laboratory data are becoming increasingly valuable tools for managed care organizations and healthcare providers. The HEDIS Effectiveness of Care measures have incorporated laboratory data into several key performance indicators. By building a comprehensive repository of laboratory data that includes both procedure codes and laboratory values, managed care organizations can realize substantial savings by avoiding the costly medical record reviews required when administrative data are incomplete. In addition to tracking clinical outcomes, laboratory data provide the ability to risk-stratify a population to target high-risk individuals for case management and disease management interventions. Healthcare organizations face several challenges in the integration of laboratory data into medical databases and practice management software. Confidentiality is a key consideration in view of recent healthcare regulations. Providers of laboratory services should work collaboratively with organizations setting standards for healthcare informatics to facilitate the pooling of data for quality improvement and outcomes research. Health Level Seven, Inc. (HL7), Logical Observation Identifier Names and Codes (LOINC), and Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED) will likely play a key role in this process.
Clinical chemistry. 2001 Aug;47(8):1516-20.
Author: M F Emons