One of the many advances that have been achieved in transplantation care today is the ability of patients to return to their community physicians after a period of time for most of their long term care. While the ability to receive care closer to home has obvious advantages for transplant patients, it can pose challenges for the transplant centers that are responsible for the outcomes as well as for the community physicians who may not be as familiar with transplant specific issues. With the never ending demands on both transplant centers as well as their community partners, an effective way of managing the data flow between the centers and referral sources is imperative. This includes timely communication and recognition of laboratory and imaging studies. Manual transmission and review of these documents can be time consuming, costly and fraught with error, particularly if the paper does not reach the appropriate destination.
Transplant centers today have become quite proficient at the utilization of databases for internal data management and communication. Interfacing outside test results automatically with a program's database allows timely recognition and action on these results so that if intervention needs to be performed, a biopsy or drug adjustment for example, this can be performed in a quicker, more efficient fashion. The end result is not only a better outcome for the patient, but a more engaged referral base that can lead to further relationships. Finally, early recognition of a problem can help prolong both graft and patient survival, favorably impacting a center's results.