How Does a Laboratory Infomration System Help Your Lab?
A laboratory information system (LIS) is a critical part of any lab’s workflow and data management strategy. Some even say the LIS software is the heart of the laboratory and the data flowing through it is the blood pumping through it. LIS software enables laboratories in many ways. For example, the right LIS software can:
- Reduce turnaround times
- Improve patient care
- Enhance physician communications
- Reduce overall operational costs
- Reduce strain on IT teams
- Increase employee morale
We could go on for days.
How a Laboratory Information System Functions
There are of a lot LIS software platforms on the market today. From bare-bones systems that have limited functionality to on-premises systems, you have to manually manage to pay-as-you-go systems to completely cloud-based LIS software. Thus making it hard to understand how each system functions.
Traditionally, laboratories were forced to purchase the software, download it to their servers, maintain the servers, troubleshoot any bugs, maintain software updates and ensure the whole environment was secure. Which takes a team of people to support.
As digital transformation is real and does not exclude pathology labs, the shift to cloud-based LIS software is no longer a pipedream but a very real reality that is enabling laboratories to bypass the unnecessary noise of maintaining an on-premises LIS software.
There are two different types of cloud-based LIS software, SaaS or Cloud-hosted. Check out our blog “ SaaS vs Hosting Your Own Cloud LIS: What is Best for Your Laboratory” to understand the differences between the two.
Reducing turnaround times and improving patient care is the goal of all pathology laboratories. Using advanced technology to achieve these goals improves lab efficiency while improving patient care.
The Basic Components of a LIS
Laboratory information system software has many capabilities but there are several that are a must for any credible LIS system.
Whether you are a single or multi-site laboratory examining thousands of cases per day, your LIS software needs to be able to scale perfectly to fit your size. When onboarding new clients, your LIS software should be able to scale with you instantaneously and not be a bottleneck to organic growth.
Scalability also means being able to easily add new workflows and add new tests to your offerings. Your LIS software should be able to manage multiple specialists with ease, providing a collaborative environment for your team.
The LIS tracks a specimen from the time an order is placed, and a specimen is collected from a patient. Once at the laboratory, the LIS will capture such data as the name and unique ID of the patient and the location it was collected and print out barcode labels or print directly on cassettes to track the sample through the rest of the workflow within the lab. Having specimen tracking in place eliminates the possibility of losing specimens and provides key data metrics to help understand bottlenecks and enable process efficiency.
Transparency in the laboratory is driven by data. Data to inform you of bottlenecks, above-average employees, or even problem employees. Every LIS software will have reports, but there are two key elements that your LIS software must have.
- Ability to build out reporting dashboards.
- Ability to create your own ad-hoc reports whenever you need them without the need of running back to your LIS provider
Long gone are the days when labs only perform one type of test. With the consolidating market and the need to become more attractive to physicians, laboratories are continuously adding new tests to their menus every day. However, many LIS software platforms are not able to automatically compile different tests into a single report. Don’t be the lab that must manually compile reports and send addendum after addendum to your clients.
Any LIS software should seamlessly and bi-directionally interface with the ordering physician’s electronic health records (EHR) to facilitate the exchange of information securely.
Most LIS providers do have this capability but the question is; does your LIS vendor do it themselves or do they bring in a third-party vendor?
What is the Difference Between LIS & LIMS?
LIS software and laboratory information management system (LIMS) software share many commonalities; the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. However, they are two different systems with two discrete uses.
LIS is typically used for patient-specific specimens. LIMS supports the requirements of a sample-specific laboratory, such as clinical research labels, or a pharma lab. The functions and protocols of the LIMS software platforms were designed to support the needs of a clinical research lab, not a patient-centric one. While there is substantial overlap between the functionality of these two types of software systems, each has distinct features that make them a more viable option for their respective testing facilities.
- LIS is primarily used for patient-supporting testing labs, supporting healthcare providers
- LIMS is used to support the needs of clinical research labs, those using a sample-centric model and protocols, or to support the needs of a non-clinical laboratory setting
Why Do Laboratories Need Dedicated Laboratory Systems?
A flexible, responsive LIS software system reduces the occurrence of laboratory errors and streamlines efficiency by automating much of a lab’s workflow. The complexities and rigors of laboratory testing also require strict handling and labeling protocols and proper storage and maintaining chain-of-custody of each specimen. A good LIS will allow labs to provide faster results.
Automated lab systems help improve the standard of quality and reliability of the lab too. Processing errors are decreased, and the reliability TAT is enhanced through faster lab processing in turn faster results for the patient.
Choose NovoPath as Your LIS
NovoPath is a leading laboratory information system software provider, providing a variety of industry-leading, flexible software solutions customizable for the needs and demands of your laboratory’s workflows. Our decades of experience designing workflow laboratory solutions enable us to offer a superior level of reconfigurability to simplify your lab’s workflow. In addition, we provide scalable solutions and responsive client support.
We partner with hundreds of labs across the country, providing efficient automation services and support integration with many software platforms. Our expertly designed software makes us the clear choice for labs, whether you have one location or multiple locations to integrate.
Get started today with a demo of NovoPath 360.