Cloud-Based Laboratory Information System Benefits


Cloud-Based Laboratory Information System Benefits

Did you know that over ⅓ of pathology labs are already leveraging a cloud-based LIS (laboratory information system) or making the move to the cloud this year?  

That’s ~1000 labs just in the US.

So why are the other 2/3 rd of the labs not ready to jump just yet? What we have seen is that laboratories are not 100% sure of the value a cloud-based LIS can bring to their labs… Well, we’re about to change that!

Over the years, laboratory information systems have evolved from storing data on reel-to-reel tapes where IT departments needed to manually reload reels when full to robust cloud-based laboratory information systems that are capable of housing unlimited amounts of data and scaling up or down on demand.

Cloud Based LIS
Patricia Barbeau operates an IBM 729 at Camp Smith in Hawaii (1969). Credit: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

But a cloud-based laboratory information system can provide a whole lot more than just on-demand access to unlimited storage. Let’s dive in to see why a cloud-based LIS is worth the move.

 Laboratory Information System Benefits 

Increased Security

Security is at the top of everyone’s list – especially for diagnostic laboratories who work day in and day out with personal patient data. No lab wants to be caught off guard with a security breach.

Just recently in July 2021, DNA Diagnostics Center, Inc. experienced a data breach where an unauthorized third party gained access to the server where patient data dating back to 2004 was stored. CPO Magazine reports that an unauthorized individual potentially removed certain files and folders from the database between May 24 to July 28. That’s a whole MONTH of activity without any detection.

To help curve the impact to their patients, they are offering free identify protection services which is a major expense they did not budget for.

When leveraging a cloud-based LIS, your team doesn’t have to be security experts – your LIS vendor does!  They not only have real-time monitoring 24/7 on your data, but they also take extra precautions to ensure your data is safe. Making it safer to store in the cloud.

Precautions include:

  • Servers are stored in warehouses that most people/workers do not have access to
  • Files stored on cloud servers are encrypted, meaning they are scrambled which makes it harder for cybercriminals to access
  • Consistent security updates
  • Leveraging AI to seek out and identify possible vulnerabilities
  • Security is tested by a third party
  • Built-in firewalls
 

If using a cloud provider like Microsoft which we do here at NovoPath, Microsoft’s team of experts dedicate 100% of their time to testing their own system security by constantly running “red team/blue team” white-hat hackers. That means one team is actively trying to look for penetration points (hack the system), while the other team actively looks to stop them. For a fair analysis, compare the security measures employed by Microsoft to the expertise of your IT team in keeping your on-premises system secure.

Reduce Operational Expenses

When running an on-premises LIS, several factors can increase your TCO:

  • Cost of hardware
  • Power consumption
  • Housing space
  • Maintenance and support including an internal IT team
 

What any lab should take away from a cloud vs on-premises cost comparison is that cloud providers charge on a pay-as-you-go, per-user basis, so your cost and time involved to support your lab operations are dramatically reduced.

Note, that just in the capital expenditure is practically non-existent, as no hardware is needed, no physical infrastructure to hold servers, no power consumption costs, or even space to house the servers.

Without the need to hire IT staff to maintain the LIS, your TOC expenditure can be reallocated to building your business. Maintenance or upkeep costs are kept to a minimum as there is no physical hardware or infrastructure to maintain.

Ask your LIS vendor for a cost comparison – a good one will be able to break this down for you.

Tax Implications

The hardware your lab buys is bought as a capital expense, and it must be depreciated over time. While cloud solutions are considered operational expenses that are deducted as costs. Your finance team will thank you later.  

Flexibility/Scalability

At any time, let’s say your lab acquires another lab, adds a new specialty, or you expand your customer base. With a cloud-based LIS, you have the capability to add more space and users without the need to wait for your IT team to create the project and complete it or “reconfigure”. On the other hand, if you discover you no longer need the amount of space for your LIS, you simply turn it off and no longer pay for it.

With an on-premises LIS, you are stuck with the server you have. Meaning if you plan to grow, don’t forget to calculate the cost of a new server, configuration, time, etc. needed to get your additional servers running, tested, and live.

Automatic Updates

One of the main drawbacks of an on-premises LIS is that it quickly becomes out of date as more and more LIS vendors are developing in agile sprints. This ultimately leaves you to decide if you want to pay more for additional features and build workarounds with an outdated system.

With a good cloud-based LIS, the software is updated automatically, ensuring you have access to all the latest features for data management and analysis.

Reliability

Most all cloud providers like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, IBM, and Oracle guarantee 99.9% uptime. It’s most likely your LIS provider is using one of these cloud platforms meaning almost 100% of the time your LIS will be running versus with on-premises you don’t have a guarantee at all.

Learn More About Laboratory Information System Benefits

Now that you fully understand some of the top benefits a cloud-based laboratory information system can bring to your lab – what are you waiting for? More information on how to move to the cloud?  

No problem check out our latest webinar to understand the difference between cloud-based LIS and a SaaS LIS and the steps you need to make it happen. 

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