How to Improve Hospitals' Operational Efficiency? Support Better Diagnoses
SAN DIEGO, CA / ACCESSWIRE / October 19, 2021 / A new tool promises to help doctors make quicker, more accurate diagnoses by enhancing the reports they receive from testing laboratories. What is Diagu, and why does it matter so much to today's hospitals?
Maintaining Standards of Care Amidst Unprecedented Challenges
As hospitals and other medical facilities continue to deal with the impact of COVID-19, they face challenges beyond the periodic scarcity of supplies and personnel. Many regions of the world have experienced a sort of rolling triage, with local outbreaks filling hospitals beyond capacity for weeks at a time. The pandemic has done more than tax our ability to deliver equipment, supplies, and personnel when and where they are needed: it has undercut the very suppositions on which our medical facilities were planned and built, and under which they had operated.
Hospital administrators have responded with tremendous resourcefulness, finding new ways to treat an unforeseeable flood of critically ill patients. Hospital personnel, especially front-line medical staff, have made heroic sacrifices to meet the challenge. But as the pandemic wears on and the possibility of new variants of the novel coronavirus looms, we must do even more. When every bit of space is being used wisely and hospital personnel are working beyond their limits, operational efficiencies may be the key to serving more patients during local outbreaks.
Some of those opportunities are specific to each hospital, and administrators have long since taken steps to address them. But others are at least partly beyond hospital administrators' direct control. In vitro diagnostic testing, for example, is often conducted by third-party laboratories. All told, 14 billion diagnostic tests are administered each year in the US, where they support roughly 70% of all medical decisions.
However good the relationship between a given hospital and its laboratory partners, and however accustomed its medical staff has grown the ways in which a given lab reports test results, the traditional test-reporting process requires a good deal of additional work before test results can be translated into actionable diagnoses.
Enter Diagu: Deeply Enhanced Test Reports for Better Diagnostic Decisions
Diagu closes the gap with an AI-powered solution that places each test result in a rich, immediately usable context, with no additional time spent gathering crucial data. The company's enhanced reporting solution supports the judgment of medical personnel, allowing doctors to make more accurate diagnoses, more quickly and with greater confidence.
The system gathers information about each patient's medical history, known current conditions, medical regimen, and other factors. This information is prepared before test results become available.
As soon as the laboratory completes a test, Diagu's solution adds a groundbreaking layer of contextual information. Test results are compared to a database of results from similar tests, and a wealth of anonymized data describing the pre-existing conditions, diagnoses, treatment protocols, and health outcomes of millions of other patients. DICOM files and x-rays also contribute to this rich data pool, which is refreshed daily through an international network of partners who perform a collected 60 million tests each year.
The system then produces a report that clearly describes the current patient's condition and test results in the immediately usable context of similar cases. Diagu's Test Results Analyzer presents the system's findings on any computer, tablet, or smartphone, though a customizable graphical interface. The Analyzer's powerful visualization tools allow doctors to immediately identify ways in which the current patient's results and symptoms deviate from the norm, and allows them to chart the historical success of various possible diagnoses over time. For each possible diagnosis, doctors may examine the success of various therapies, including the effectiveness of each documented pharmaceutical regimens over time.
The result is an immediate and actionable presentation of data that doctors have traditionally spent crucial minutes and hours compiling. Diagu does not seek to supplant human judgment. Rather, the company supports doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff in doing what they do best, when every second of their time matters more than ever.
Benefits That Continue Over Time
Diagu continues to pay dividends even after patients are diagnosed. For example, quick and accurate diagnoses help limit inpatient time by supporting the quickest route to successful health outcomes. More accurate diagnosis also supports the efficient use of hospital resources. The CDC estimates that as many as 80,000 deaths per year are directly attributable to preventable diagnostic errors. That figure represents an extreme outcome, and only hints at the time, money, and resources spent on unnecessary treatment guided by misdiagnoses that could have been prevented with readier access to more information.
When those diagnostic errors come to light, hospitals face an array of challenges having nothing directly to do with delivering patient care. Insurance companies may seek to withhold payment, and lawsuits are an unfortunate fact of life for today's hospitals. Those factors will not change any time soon, much as we all wish they would. But Diagu can help hospitals document an effective response to legal and insurance-related questions by demonstrating that diagnosing physicians consulted every possible source of information before arriving at their conclusions.
An Idea Whose Time has Come
AI and machine learning have entered the medical mainstream. Chatbots can now handle routine inquiries by physicians and route cases to appropriate specialists; predictive analytics facilitates everything from public health initiatives to personal health tracking. AI research and advisory company Emerj predicts that AI can save the US healthcare economy $150 billion by 2026.
Diagu extends the promise of machine learning to the very heart of medical practice. In-vitro diagnostic testing is a $85 billion business in the US alone. The hospitals and clinics that drive this market must get every ounce of value from such a significant investment. Diagu helps them do just that.