MagnaCare, BeaconLBS partner to bring price transparency to lab testing

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MagnaCare and BeaconLBS are working together to help physicians make better, timely decisions in the exam room regarding expensive lab tests.

Beacon, a provider of a point-of-care decision support platform, has technology that interfaces with electronic health records and lab ordering systems, providing physicians with convenient access to evidence-based guidelines along with price transparency.

Physicians who use Beacon’s platform have garnered a 28 percent improvement in referral rate, a 61 percent improvement in test selection quality and have lowered patient out-of-pocket costs by as much as 59 percent, the companies said.

Paul Conlin, president of BeaconLBS, says digital change that is geared toward making the consumer’s life easier has been slower coming for healthcare than it has in other market sectors, but achieving it will be essential for the success of value-based care.

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By way of example, Conlin calls Amazon “a poster child of digital change,” making it easy for consumers to make educated purchasing decisions. But unlike with Amazon shopping, physicians do not have what they need in the exam room to make critical purchasing decisions.

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“It doesn’t appear to me that health plans are developing vehicles to take the information that’s mined from EHRs and put it through algorithms, making it easier for doctors to consume at point of care,” Conlin says. “It’s like basically telling doctors, you’re own your own.”

The good news is the data are available as well as the guidelines. “But it’s our job to get that information to the doctors,” he says.

With new advances in laboratory testing that include genetic tests, doctors—who face increased stress from risk payment models—are challenged in selecting the right ones. Recent estimates suggest that between 20 to 25 percent of genetic tests ordered by physicians are inappropriate for patients’ conditions, resulting in unnecessary costs and delays in care, according to MagnaCare, a health plan management services company.

“By optimizing lab ordering for genetic and molecular testing, physicians can order tests with greater confidence,” says Bartley Bryt, MagnaCare’s chief medical officer. “They can order the most appropriate test for the patient and from a lab that has passed a set of high-quality indicators for that test.”

“Insurance companies need to get out of the way,” Bryt says, highlighting how much time and frustration doctors and patients waste while waiting for lab test authorizations. “We need to stop being so disruptive to the physician-patient relationship. We believe it’s the most important relationship; but how do we step back and yet remain involved?” Bryt believes that delivering information at point-of-care is the best way to do that.

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