It’s a common phrase: location, location, location!  It became a motto for successful retailers over the years…so why bring it up to our audience?  Believe it or not, it’s also a big deal in laboratory data – electronic medical records systems (EMRs) and laboratory information systems (LISs) – all put this aspect at the top of their lists.

Why does location play such a key role?  It’s one of the centerpieces of compliance for insurers and a key logistical element in tracking laboratory orders and results.

Let’s look at why it’s so important to compliance. When a laboratory specimen comes in to be processed, insurers want to know where it originated.  To avoid fraudulent claims, they cover themselves by making sure they know which doctor or healthcare provider ordered it for the patient and its initiation point.  After it’s processed, they can then track that test result to where the doctor and patient receive their outcome.  To the insurer, by making location the centerpiece in this way, the resulting continuum includes satisfactory compliance checks.

But location protects the patient and provides them with security as well.  Their provider is involved with them by attaching themselves to the test…they are invested and accountable and the result will have their name on it alongside the patient. It’s reassuring that it includes the medical professional and location that requested it to connect everything involved.

From a C4 perspective, when making interface connections between laboratories and healthcare providers, we hear it quite a bit: “why is it so important to separate our locations in the system?” Virtually all EMRs use location codes and national provider identifier numbers (NPIs) to know where and who to route results. With regards to the patient, EMRs typically also provide the option to allow them visibility to their results at specific locations where the patient has had medical procedures.

Due to these many dynamics, while connecting to EMRs using interfaces to laboratory LISs, it is necessary to have each location configured separately. Due to logical data relationships, location connects at multiple places in the setup: practice, provider (or user) and any data scripts that connect certain elements in unique ways.

Over time, if a change is made to how things are set up at a location – or a new location is being considered by a practice – such a change will cascade down to other related elements.  In such cases, it becomes necessary to analyze if a new location, or change to an existing one, will result in adequate business to cover the costs of upkeep, or of making the change itself.

Hopefully, by evangelizing the importance and related considerations of locations, we can help laboratories make cost-effective decisions.  As a data services provider, we strive to look out for the important things and shine a light on them to empower our customers.  So, when it comes to what’s critical in laboratory data matters, we make sure to let people know “location is king!”