Whether you’re moving from a different cloud-based LIS or an on-premises LIS, you’ll need to take a few essential steps to ensure a successful migration to your new SaaS-based LIS. Unfortunately, when moving to a new LIS, it’s not a simple data dump migration. It’s a complex project that needs to be properly planned beforehand to avoid any unnecessary downtimes or lost efforts.
But, before you even think about migrating data and rolling out the new LIS, it’s a do or die that you spend time; 1. creating the right team 2. developing a comprehensive plan, and 3. executing.
Step 1: Team Creation & Planning
This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many labs jump into the deep end without laying out a comprehensive plan that allows for mishaps and plan B’s. Here at NovoPath, we always begin every SaaS LIS migration by defining objectives and structuring a team. We capture objectives from the CEO’s desk all the way down to the LIS users. When putting together the right team, we suggest your team consists of:
- Lab Manager
- IT Manager
- Project Manager
- Lead Pathologist
- LIS Vendor
Now that you have your team in place, what’s the plan? We advise that your plan, includes the following:
- Site and workflow assessments
- The entire scope of the project
- LIS functional and technical requirements
- Interfacing with lab instruments
- Required data fields
- Infrastructure specifications
- Software specifications
- Quality Standards
- Implementation plan
- Support plan
- Project management plan
In addition to the right team and a comprehensive plan, a key element to any lab’s success is who you partner with. You’ll want to choose a partner that has the resources, products, and knowledge to help you implement while continuing to move toward your business objectives. Besides the standard questions, be sure to vet out your partners out with the following questions:
- What is the true overall cost of the system?
- What additional support do you offer?
- Do you have HL7 connectivity?
- What is customizable and what is not?
- What value can your system provide my entire lab?
- How do you outperform your competitors?
- Do you have case studies and/or references?
Let your lab know you’re making a change to how they operate. Tell them why and what they can expect from it. Both the good and bad. When your employees understand the reason/need for a change, how you’re planning to roll it, and the overall benefits, you’ll have better adaptation.
Without up-front communication, staff can feel surprised or even threatened by the change. What seems like an obvious choice to leadership might look less positive to team members who are worried that their job is being changed or terminated. Keeping everyone informed about the changes can alleviate these worries.
3. Data Cleanup
Once you’ve laid the groundwork with communication and planning and chosen a great SaaS LIS vendor, like NovoPath (shameless plug-in), you’re going to have to clean up your data before any migrations take place.
Pathology labs will need to extract the data from your existing LIS, remove duplicates and ensure client preferences are up to date. This typically will require the involvement of different departments including sales, billing, and IT.
Depending on how much data you want to migrate and how “dirty” or out of date it might be, this can also be a time-consuming proposition. In many cases, the employees familiar enough with the data and system to handle this cleanup have day-to-day obligations within your normal business processes. It’s a good idea to plan for potential overtime if you want to expedite data cleanup. Otherwise, you may need to plan on data cleanup occurring over a period of a few weeks or even months.
4. Migration of Data
Once the data is cleaned the migration can begin. Your LIS vendor should help you transfer your data from your current LIS to the new LIS. In some cases, such as for larger labs, you may run the two systems simultaneously while the migration is taking place. In other cases, such as for a smaller lab, there might be a hard cutoff, and new specimens would go only into the new LIS.
At this point, you can see that planning ahead can save you a lot of headaches. A strong implementation plan should include documentation about what data will be migrated and when, how people in your organization will access data at any given time, and what systems need to be operable at certain times during the migration. A good LIS vendor should hold your hand every step of the way and provide guidance for planning and implementing these changes.
5. Testing and Validation
Finally, before going live, TEST, TEST, TEST and when you think you’re good, TEST again! We advise all our clients to test on a couple of different levels.
The first is a platform test making sure that the core of our platform is up and running as it should. Then we move into integration testing. Here we validate the installation and configuration of the platform.
In addition, we recommend you do a stress test to focus on the LIS ability to process and respond to high requests and report releases.
This will ensure your new LIS has the capacity to scale as you need and handle peak workloads.
6. Bonus Step: Training
Training is critical.
We recommend you take a phased approach to training.
First, train a small group of beta users. These are the first people to use the new system. (Pro-tip: Set this team-up soon and rely on them to help you troubleshoot and test new functionalities before going live.)
Beta users should then be used to help train other staff or departments on the new LIS as you roll out implementation across the organization.
When you partner with a good SaaS LIS vendor, you should have training support and resources. Here at NovoPath, our process is to be on-site to ensure complete adoption at each step. By doing so, we substantially reduce any frustration that can come from launching a new LIS.
Learn More About SaaS-Based Laboratory Information Systems
Learn more on how to tackle SaaS LIS. In partnership with Dark Daily we wrote an innovative white paper; New Drivers Pushing Beyond Cloud to SaaS Laboratory Information Systems.
Download today to gain a complete understanding of how a SaaS-based LIS can overcome your laboratory challenges while making key points to include in your organization’s internal cloud discussions.