Data made the difference: A primary care physician says lab data helped save a life

21 June 2023

When “Mrs. B” went in for a primary care appointment with her new doctor in July 2022, she wasn’t expecting anything more than a routine physical exam. She never expected her new physician, Dr. Doron Schneider, to uncover a major medical diagnosis. But Dr. Schneider has always firmly believed in the power of data, especially when it comes to caring for older adult patients like Mrs. B. Because these patients are at greater risk of illness, Dr. Schneider uses lab data even more vigilantly to determine care. “To be as good [of a provider] as you can be for new patients—one needs to be able to have data and information,” he says.

Dr. Doron Schneider, MD

Pictured: Dr. Doron Schneider, MD

Using Labcorp’s digital solutions, Dr. Schneider was able to see Mrs. B’s past test results and discovered an anomaly in her hemoglobin levels. That discovery led to an early esophageal cancer diagnosis, one which Mrs. B’s son (her caretaker) says they otherwise would have missed until it was too late.

More and more, healthcare providers are speaking about how data can make the difference in precision care. And with lab results influencing roughly 70% of clinical decisions,1 the right diagnostics partner can provide deeper insights. Read Mrs. B’s story and discover how digital health information can help save lives.

Providing precision care with precise, timely information

As an internist, national faculty member of the American College of Physicians (ACP) and vice president of population health at Tandigm Health, Dr. Schneider has devoted his career to helping patients by not only providing the best possible care but also leveraging data to advance healthcare and patient education.

He met Mrs. B at his practice at BuxMont Medical Associates in Warrington, Pennsylvania, after she moved from New Jersey. After reviewing her medical history, Dr. Schneider used Labcorp's cross-account search function available via Labcorp LinkTM—which allows practitioners to see patients’ past diagnostic testing reports—to learn more about Mrs. B’s health, including any history of acute problems or chronic health issues.

Labcorp’s digital solutions allow authorized clinicians to view historical Labcorp results for an individual patient, even if the test was ordered by another provider. This capability gives providers access to meaningful data and can help to reduce redundant testing. Where authorized, cross-account search is built into provider interfaces, including Labcorp Link and Diagnostic Assistant.

Example of trended data available from Labcorp Diagnostic Assistant

Example of trended data available from Labcorp Diagnostic Assistant

Mrs. B relies on her son as her main caretaker. He, too, is a firm believer in the power of information when it comes to his mother’s health. “The data was everything,” Mrs. B’s son says. “[Dr. Schneider] was able to get the data and diagnose this critical issue. That’s the difference that led to her being around today—acting on this data.”

The data in question—Mrs. B’s rapid decrease in hemoglobin levels, as indicated by comparing her previous lab results—led Dr. Schneider to conduct some follow-up testing. And that revealed the hidden threat: esophageal cancer.

Enhancing provider workflows to ease administrative burdens and improve patient outcomes

When a patient’s care is transferred, providers can face delays in gaining access to the patient’s medical records—a challenge that physicians like Dr. Schneider see every day.

Timing can mean everything when it comes to cancer care. When esophageal cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate is higher. Dr. Schneider’s instinct to act immediately with more follow-up testing ultimately led him to discover not just a tumor in Mrs. B’s GI tract, but also early esophageal cancer. Thanks in part to Labcorp’s data and visualization tools, Dr. Schneider was able to move swiftly to deliver the care and referrals Mrs. B needed.

“With that information, which was the juxtaposition of what I had access to and what Labcorp was able to offer, we were able to see that we needed to move quickly,” Dr. Schneider says.

That’s why Labcorp data and analytics capabilities are now a regular part of Dr. Schneider’s workflow. While he admits adding new habits to one’s routines can be challenging, he also knows that when new reporting tools become available, it’s worth checking them out.

Over time, Dr. Schneider has evolved his practice and workflow to help maximize response times when discovering anomalies like the one in Mrs. B’s labs. “For me as a physician,” he says, “it’s really about trying to build new ways of working, new habits that allow for things to become part of how you practice.”

Dr. Schneider appreciates that he can access all kinds of patient data—including EMR data, lab data, ADT data and claims data—through Labcorp’s data and technology capabilities. This enables a more holistic view of the patient. Bringing these efficiencies into a very stressful primary care day, he adds, can make a huge difference for both his practice and his patients.

Building enduring partnerships across healthcare

Dr. Schneider looks to organizations that deliver and curate lab data as leaders—leaders that can bring technology directly to the examination rooms and empower the entire healthcare ecosystem.

At Labcorp, we are more than just a resource for providers—we’re part of the care team. Collaborating with practitioners like Dr. Schneider to provide comprehensive clinical insights empowers insightful care decisions that improve health and improve lives.