By Raymond Mo
As fall approaches, universities are tasked with the challenge of bringing students and faculty back to campus safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To address the issue, Carmel-based Orchard Software has developed technology for COVID-19 testing in universities that could help streamline and accelerate the lab-testing process. The company is working with two major universities, including Purdue, to implement the software for the 2020-21 school year.
The laboratory information system automates and streamlines COVID-19 test-order entry, sample collection and sample routing processes. It also uses Orchard’s data analysis tools to help identify positive patients.
Universities with their own testing labs can use Orchard’s software to streamline the entire process, while those without labs can use the company to find the nearest lab for a quick turnaround.
“As point-of-care tests (tests not done in a lab) become more and more accurate, our hope is that some of the universities are going to want to expand to do point-of-care work with our solution,” said Matt Modleski, executive vice president of Orchard Software. “That’s the final piece of what we’re doing for universities. We haven’t done that yet, but we’re in a position to help when they’re ready.”
While Orchard’s software solution for universities was prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak, the company’s laboratory information solution has been available for several years. However, the challenge of bringing the solution into a university setting, Modleski said, was finding workers who understood the technical nature and workflow of laboratory testing.
“There aren’t that many people who really understand laboratory medicine in terms of how it flows electronically from order through the lab and then back to the person who ordered it,” Modleski said. “If you don’t have a laboratory worker on that COVID-19 task force, it can be hard to explain why, for example, an electronic health record can’t do all the things we are talking about.
“The initial challenge that we saw was having the right people engaged on both sides who really understood laboratory medicine in terms of how it flows electronically, from order through the lab and then back to the person who ordered it. Once we got all the right people looking at the solution together, we’ve had great success in helping universities move their process along.”
For more, visit orchardsoft.com.