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Clinicians Get Newborns’ Lab Results 10 Days Sooner

Sentara Healthcare is the first in Virginia to send electronic blood screening results

The first few weeks of a baby’s life are critical for long-term development, and if something doesn’t look right in a baby’s blood test, clinicians need to know fast. Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk partnered with Virginia’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services to implement the state’s first fully electronic process for communicating newborns’ blood screens and results between clinicians and the lab. Clinicians now receive newborns’ results an average of 10 days sooner.

“There’s really no way to shorten the time it takes to collect, deliver, and document a baby’s data without electronic communication with the lab,” said Heike Nicks, a nurse specialist at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. “Getting the results back as soon as they’re ready makes a huge difference in how fast we can start interventions for newborns.”

In Epic, relevant information from the newborn’s chart is combined with the blood screening order and then sent electronically to the state laboratory. Samples must still be driven to Richmond, but the electronic order is waiting for them to arrive. When the results are ready, they’re sent back and automatically filed to the newborn’s chart. Clinicians receive a notification in Epic when the results are ready.

Results are now being returned in fewer than five days, significantly faster than the state average of 15 days for non-electronic results. The Epic-based solution is being deployed to all Sentara hospitals with family maternity programs.

Read more about Sentara’s program from CBS affiliate WTKR.