Laboratory professionals: Forgotten COVID-19 heroes
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers were thrown into the spotlight like never before. Doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists were hailed as “healthcare heroes,” and deservedly so. But alongside these “frontline” workers were teams of laboratory professionals working overtime to process the onslaught of COVID-19 tests—and in the public eye, they were largely overlooked.
Unfortunately, this can happen often with medical lab professionals. In many hospitals, the Lab is often the last department to receive funding or recognition, despite the critical role it plays in healthcare. But as the pandemic ramped up, we saw a change in that status quo. In hospitals across the nation, leadership took a newfound interest in the lab department. Testing was (and still is) the only way to definitively diagnose COVID-19. Therefore, it is critical to have fast and accurate test results so that proper actions can be taken. Recognizing this, hospital leaders began pouring funding into Labs, which helped supply new equipment and grow their staffs. Reports from Labs have also become vital as hospitals and government agencies need to closely monitor the daily number of positive tests.
These reports came with new government regulations surrounding the information that needed to be recorded and the time in which it needed to be reported. It was vital to capture all the correct information in a timely manner so that contact tracing could begin and hopefully slow the spread of the virus. During this time, Allscripts worked with public health officials on every level to ensure that our Lab solution supported the new regulations and quickly implemented all necessary changes. (In fact, Reaction Data ranked Allscripts as #1 for COVID Response and Recovery.)
As vaccines roll out, and we slowly return to normal, I predict we’ll see Labs becoming overwhelmed again. Telehealth appointments slightly decreased the amount of “normal” lab testing, since patients are unable to submit samples when they are not physically at a provider’s office. However, as in-person appointments resume, we can expect to see a rise in lab tests being ordered on top of the ongoing COVID-19 tests. But I believe that Labs will continue to be at the forefront of budgetary and leadership conversations. The medical lab community has proven just how valuable they are in the healthcare environment and have been able to strategically place themselves in a better position for future negotiations, should they need upgraded equipment or even more personnel.
No matter what the future brings, Allscripts will continue to support the medical lab community, just as we did through the pandemic. If you’d like to learn more about the Allscripts Lab™ Solution, go here.