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What is a Laboratory Management System & How Does It Help Your Lab?

A laboratory information system (LIS) is critical to workflow and data management strategy for any type of lab. Some even say lab management 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 Management System Functions

There are many LIS software platforms on the market today. From bare-bones systems that have limited functionality to on-premises systems that you have to manage to pay-as-you-go systems to completely cloud-based LIS software manually, it is hard to understand how each system functions.

Traditionally, laboratories were forced to purchase the software, download it to their servers, maintain the servers, troubleshoot bugs, maintain software updates, and ensure the whole environment was secure, which required 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 real reality 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 and 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.

All pathology laboratories strive to reduce turnaround times and improve patient care. Using advanced technology to achieve these goals improves lab efficiency and patient care.

The Basic Components of a Laboratory Information System

Laboratory information system software has many capabilities, but several are essential for any credible LIS system.

Surgical LIS Software

Scalability

Whether you are a single or multi-site laboratory examining thousands of cases per day, your LIS software needs 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 easily manage multiple specialists, providing a collaborative environment for your team.

Specimen Tracking

The LIS tracks a specimen from when an order is placed and a specimen is collected from a patient. Once at the laboratory, the LIS will capture such data as the patient’s name and unique ID and the location where 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 eliminates the possibility of losing specimens and provides key data metrics to help understand bottlenecks and enable process efficiency.

Reporting

The laboratory’s transparency is driven by data that informs 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 ad-hoc reports whenever you need them without the need to run back to your LIS provider

NovoPath Laboratory Information System

Multi-Specialty Reporting

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 continuously add new tests to their menus daily. However, many LIS software platforms cannot 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.

See how NovoPath 360 can automatically compile reports.

Healthcare Interoperability

Any LIS software should seamlessly and bidirectionally interface with the ordering physician’s electronic health records (EHR) to facilitate the secure exchange of information.

Most LIS providers have this type of healthcare interoperability 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, and they 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 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 Management Software?

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, proper storage, and the maintenance of a chain-of-custody of each specimen. A good LIS will allow labs to provide faster results.

Automated lab systems also help improve the quality and reliability of the lab. Through faster lab processing, processing errors are decreased, and the reliability TAT is enhanced, which in turn leads to faster patient results.

Choose NovoPath as Your Lab Management System

NovoPath is a leading laboratory information system software provider, providing various industry-leading, flexible software solutions that are customizable for the needs and demands of your laboratory’s workflows. Our decades of experience designing workflow laboratory solutions enable us to offer superior reconfigurability to simplify your lab’s workflow. In addition, we provide scalable solutions and responsive client support.

We partner with hundreds of labs nationwide, 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.

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