Edmunds Reineks has the experience of leading several high volume, critical clinical testing operations, including directing the Cleveland Clinic’s automated chemistry core laboratory and enterprise point of care testing program. A former former U.S. Navy officer and nuclear engineer, Mr. Reineks holds the esteemed position as a CLIA laboratory director, PhD scientist in pharmacology. He is a key consultant in development of diagnostic tests and devices, quality & compliance, data mining/utilization, and diverse, highly-regulated, critical operations for many companies.
Edmund Reineks, an extremely seasoned and successful professional, exclusively talks to HealthcareTech Outlook for a special edition of Patient Engagement.
In the light of your experience what are the trends and challenges you’ve witnessed happening with respect to the Point of Care (POC) Diagnosis space?
Every year, there is more POC testing in more environments. In some respects, I attribute this growth to unrecognized negative externalities that shift the cost-benefit curve in the direction of more consumption. Care providers in the clinic are often unaware of the drawbacks associated with POC testing, which can include higher analytic cost per test, organizational compliance risks, and (sometimes) lower quality test results. However, the clinical team is usually aware of and primarily focused on the benefits, which typically include gains in workflow efficiency, improved patient satisfaction, and greater clinician control in providing care. Manufacturers of POC testing devices are working to reduce some of the drawbacks (competing on pricing for consumables, and improving the robustness of the testing process), and this is a contributing factor to the growth. But the regulatory environment that applies to healthcare organizations that perform patient testing is increasingly burdensome.
Could you elaborate on some interesting and impactful project/initiatives that you’re currently overseeing?
We have spent almost 18 months in the implementation phase of a middleware connectivity solution for a spectrum of POC devices which span our healthcare system. This allows POC testing devices to be connected to important clinical systems, primarily the electronic health record and our ADT (admission/discharge/ transfer) system. Overall, the project has taken much longer than 18 months; it has been almost three years since we first vetted the idea, researched the paths to acquisition and implementation, obtained strategic internal funding, and identified a vendor through an RFI/ RFP mechanism. The POC management team has benefitted from our improved monitoring and workflow. Dozens of POC testing locations, such as emergency departments and ICUs, are no longer manually entering patient test results (reducing errors and speeding their processes), results quickly reach patient charts, and the POC management team has insight into near real time testing trends and issues.