Haste Makes Waste
Reality is a unique concept to each and every individual. Our perceptions dictate to us what is real. But just because we see a thing a certain way does not make it so. I think this quote best sums it the point: "The real voyage of discovery is not is seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Proust.
Healthcare professionals are taking expeditions to new discoveries that are forcing them to throw out the old methodologies and create new ones. As much as we think we know about science, I can assure you that new knowledge will continue to be written for centuries to come.
How are undiscovered innovative territories uncovered? New healthcare frontiers are discovered as a result of tests and close scrutiny of testing results. However, lately there has been a lot of chatter regarding unnecessary laboratory testing occurring. More specifically, and most likely the heightened concern is a result of the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) and closer study of costs by insurance companies.
I read a couple of articles that put forth the idea that many tests are given, but just as many are thrown in the waste bin, because there wasn't a clear rationale on the part of the practitioner for ordering the test. In other words, there is a level of "uncertainty" involved on the clinician's part when they order and interpret the tests.
There is support that the greatest issue contributing to the "hasty uncertainty" involves a human factor of practitioners being overwhelmed due to demanding workloads and the on-going pressure to produce results.
This year, a collaborative research effort involving from the CDC and a few university hospitals will be examining how increased use of electronics and technology can assist clinicians in better lab tests decision making, thereby reducing the waste.
More technology is cool. I love technology. However a word of caution is time management considerations. Electronics specialists and healthcare providers need to come to the table and chat on managing time for injecting more electronics onto the scene. Often times more availability of technology inputs and outputs literally drown professionals. So a consideration should also be to ensure that a unhurried dedicated amount of time be set aside to examine the necessity of ordering; time to effectively transmit data; time to review electronic lab results before adding more technology on top of current tools. Enough said.