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A novel electronic consult (e-consult) system for a pathology and laboratory medicine service (PLMS) was implemented in 2015 at a high-complexity Veterans Administration health care facility. Consults were previously made through direct provider communication without documentation in the medical record. To evaluate the utilization trends of the laboratory e-consult system at the Department of Veterans Affairs Connecticut facility during the first 2 years since inception. E-consultation involves pathology and laboratory medicine resident review followed by attending pathologist review and cosignature. E-consults to the pathology and laboratory medicine service from 2015 to 2017 were reviewed to record type of consult, requesting department, patient location, and turnaround time. The pathology and laboratory medicine service received 351 e-consults from 2015 to 2017. The volume varied by subsection: hematology and coagulation (215 of 351; 61%), chemistry (109 of 351; 31%), blood bank (19 of 351; 6%), and microbiology/virology (8 of 351; 2%). Hematology and coagulation consults were entirely for peripheral blood smear review (215 of 215; 100%). Chemistry consults were placed for toxicology/drugs of abuse (81 of 109; 74%), test utilization (17 of 109; 16%), or nontoxicology (11 of 109; 10%). Three services placed the majority of consults: primary care (279 of 351; 80%), hematology/oncology (39 of 351; 11%), and psychiatry (27 of 351; 8%). The median turnaround time for completion of e-consults was 1.2 days. Since e-consult implementation, the mean number of consults increased from 8.6/mo in 2015 to 18.1/mo in 2017, peaking in the last quarter of analysis in 2017 with a mean of 25.3 consults/mo. This novel e-consult system improved accessibility to and documentation of answers to laboratory questions and increased the visibility of the pathology and laboratory medicine service. Future goals include development of outcomes-based measures to better assess the clinical impact of e-consults. © 2021 College of American Pathologists.


Kristin Stendahl, Alexa J Siddon, David R Peaper, Ronald G Hauser, Sheldon Campbell, Christopher A Tormey. The Development and Implementation of a Novel Electronic Consult System by a Laboratory Medicine Service: Experience From the First 2 Years of Use. Archives of pathology & laboratory medicine. 2021 Jan 01;145(1):75-81

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PMID: 33367659

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