Saturday, March 31, 2012

EHR Rollout Reduces Number of Lab Tests

It’s not hard to imagine why patients would be happier if they didn’t need as many lab tests.  This would mean less fighting to get an early morning appointment for a fasting blood draw before they get light-headed, less painful needle pokes and less nail-biting time waiting for the results.  A recent study showed that since the EHR rollout in the Partners Healthcare system, the number of lab test orders had decreased greatly.

The study included the electronic medical records of 117,606 outpatients between two hospitals that make up Partners Healthcare – Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.  Co-written by Dr. Alexander Turchin of Harvard Medical School, the study provided data suggesting that lab tests decreased after their EHR and health information exchange (HIE) implementation in 2000. 

Spanning from the beginning of 1999 to the end of 2004, lab tests per patient went from an average of seven in 1999 to four in 2004 after their EHR rollout.  Patients who did not have prior lab tests done at the two hospitals actually had a slightly increased number of tests since implementation – from an average of five up to six.  Despite this, the research concluded that since the introduction of EHRs and HIE, the number of lab tests decreased by 49%.  According to the Reuter’s regarding the study, Turchin and his team plan on studying the potential savings of from fewer lab test orders.        


  1. This article on Electronic Health Records rollout was a great read! I'm going to make sure to share this with my family and friends. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  2. Thank you for sharing. There are a variety of different EHR testing services including Functional and Interoperability testing, which are needed. Other services such as security testing may also be required.