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NovoPath Laboratory Information System

How to Choose a LIS Vendor

As laboratories shift from on-premises to cloud-based LIS, many questions need to be asked before choosing the right LIS software vendor for your laboratory.

It seems like a new LIS software vendor pops up every day, making it harder and harder for laboratories like yours to vet which one is best for their objectives.

To simplify the evaluation process, we’ve outlined seven questions about service, support, and training that you should ask all LIS software vendors.

Questions for LIS Software Vendors

Question 1: How do you support your clients?

When you move from an on-premises to a cloud-based LIS, you need a partner who will be there for you after the ink dries on your agreement. A partner who is there and responsive when you need them the most – when issues arise. And they will, it’s just the nature of the beast. However, how your LIS vendor handles those problems with a comprehensive support system makes all the difference.

We’d advise you to explore and dig deep into how the vendor supports its clients. Remember, this will be your team’s first point of contact, and understanding their processes will set expectations moving forward.

Note: Make sure to understand what 24×7 means. Does it mean you can submit tickets anytime but won’t get a response until business hours? Or do they have a team who can solve your issue/s at any time of the day?

When discussing support, ask:

LIS Software vendors

  • When is your support available?
  • Is it 24×7?
  • What does 24×7 mean to each LIS vendor?
  • How do you communicate with your clients?
  • What type of support packages do you offer?
  • What do you support? Is there anything outside the scope of your support team?
  • What are your expected turnaround times?
  • What is your average resolution time?
  • Are there any additional fees for different types of support?
  • How can we interact with you? Email, customer portal, phone, chat, social media?
  • Do you have a library of resources I can troubleshoot myself?

Question 2: How is training provided?

Even with the most intuitive laboratory information system software, your team will need training. Some laboratories don’t emphasize the importance of training, which can make or break the lab’s adoption rate with the new LIS.

Your team will need to know how to use the LIS and how to configure it to work best for your practice. Keep in mind that a good LIS software vendor will provide best practices around workflows, integrations, etc.

Before selecting your LIS software vendor, dive into their training programs and resources.

Key questions to ask:

  • How is your training performed? Onsite? Virtual? Self-services? Hybrid?
  • How long does it take to train the entire team?
  • Is there separate training for different users?
  • Is training offered as needed for new hires?
  • Can you provide your training agenda and timeline?

Question 3: How often do you perform system updates?

SaaS-based LIS software vendors will regularly push upgrades/updates to your environment. These updates will be small, allowing users to digest them easily without becoming overwhelmed or interfering with everyday operations. This is the beauty of SaaS-based LIS: laboratories can easily enjoy the updates without having to do the work themselves.
Comparatively, to an on-premises LIS, updates happen only a few times a year, contain major updates, and are performed by the laboratory’s internal IT department. Each update typically has many new features, making it harder for your lab to learn and keep operations going. See what is achievable with a cloud-based LIS and check out “The Benefits of a Cloud-Based LIS” blog When vetting laboratory information system (LIS) software vendors, make sure you ask:

  • What kind of development process does your organization Have? Agile? Waterfall? Scrum?…
  • Can you show me your roadmap?
  • How do you roll out updates/bug fixes?

Question 4: What will be my total cost of ownership?

LIS software vendors are transforming every day, and so are their pricing structures. As we know, laboratories typically do not switch out their LIS every year (unless something is wrong). It’s more like 5-10 years, and some LIS software vendors are taking advantage of this.

When LIS  software vendors offer extremely low setup fees and volume-based pricing, it enables labs to think they can pass less for more.

When, in fact, labs that plan to grow and expand their offerings end up paying a lot more year after year. As their testing volume increases, so does how much their LIS software costs.

We see this a lot: laboratories come to NovoPath because they want to get out of the accounting circus caused by volume-based pricing and have a partnership with their LIS vendor that will enable them to grow without being taxed for their growth.

This pricing model is ideal for smaller labs; however, if you’re looking to scale, volume-based pricing wreaks havoc on your financials, and let’s not forget that it doesn’t provide accurate budgeting and forecasting.

Question 5: Does your LIS provide interoperability?

Integrations are a must to run a lab effectively. Integrations to EHRs, billing, clinician offices, stainers, microscopes—the list can go on and on—are important. But the important question is: Does the LIS software vendor perform and monitor these integrations, or will you need to bring in another vendor?

Other key questions to ask:

  • How many connections can it handle?
  • Can you explain or go into the security measures of the data exchange?
  • What protocols are supported?
  • How will I know if something goes wrong?
  • Does it provide bi-directional data flows?

Question 6: Do you have focus groups?

Your laboratory team works within the LIS day in and day out. They naturally will innovate ways to make the system easier to use the function to improve overall performance. We suggest you determine if your LIS software vendor is open to product improvement suggestions with events like focus groups.

Holding focus groups regularly means listening to clients is part of your LIS provider’s culture, and it is a great indication of how your partnership will look in the future.

Question 7: Can you share references or testimonials from other clients?

LIS software vendors with good client relationships should be willing to connect you to references or point you toward testimonials. For the best perspective, ask to speak to laboratories similar in size and specialties offered.

Preparing for Change

Now that you’re armed with the key questions to ask your laboratory information system (LIS) software vendor, data migration is another consideration. Are you or is your team asking how you will migrate your data?

Learn the essential steps to take when preparing for a LIS migration.

Migrating to SaaS LIS

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