ECG Results Distribution: Still Printing?

We speak to many diagnostic testing organizations that have successfully converted to electronic management of most of their ECG processes. They acquire their ECG tests electronically, they transmit them electronically to Cardiologists for remote interpretation and they store the test results electronically. However, when it comes to distributing the ECG test results, these organizations are printing the results from electronic files and delivering those results by hand.

As it turns out, most of the Ordering Physicians that refer their patients for testing still prefer to receive results in paper form. However, in accommodating their wishes, the organizations that serve them are suffering with processes that are error-prone and inefficient. Therefore, they look for our assistance in making these processes more productive.

When we analyze their typical distribution cycle, we usually find the following pain points:

  1. ECG test results are being printed at numerous locations, despite the fact that the printing of other types of test results has been centralized or regionalized.
  2. ECG test results are printed during regular business hours and the printing process is managed manually.
  3. A great deal of time is required to sort the tests for delivery. Often tests are sorted by courier route and stop number; sometimes they are sorted by the name of the Ordering Physician. Always, they are sorted by hand.
  4. A great deal of time is required to address and label envelopes for the delivery of test results. The envelopes are only used for the delivery of ECG test results because the delivery of other types of results is being done from a more centralized location.

In future weeks, we will be exploring how creativity and electronic ECG management technology can resolve these problems and streamline ECG results distribution, while keeping it paper-based.