Seamless Data Exchange is Here and Will Soon Be Widely Adopted
February 9, 2024
In his latest thought-leadership article for Forbes Business Council, LigoLab CEO Suren Avunjian examines the current state of medical laboratory interoperability between Electonic Health Records (EHR) and Laboratory Information Systems (LIS).
Suren writes about both the inherent difficulties associated with data exchange between these two disparate laboratory software systems and why it is so important for healthcare leaders to continue to work toward a new level of convergence between the systems.
What follows is an executive summary of Suren’s most recent Forbes article (click on the link above for the full article). After the summary, we’ll also include links to his previous thought-leadership pieces that focus on the best way to fund an enterprise lab, how current technology will shape the future of medical labs, and the pros and cons associated with just-in-time and batch processing within the lab.
Lessons Learned From the COVID-19 Pandemic
Suren opens the article by comparing what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic to what needs to happen in terms of increased EHR and LIS system connectivity.
He writes that COVID-19 presented a massive healthcare challenge to overcome and uses the rapid workflow changes implemented by diagnostic testing labs as an example of what can be done when all parties come together with a common goal. These labs changed long-established clinical laboratory workflow procedures in the blink of an eye to take on unprecedented testing volumes and to keep patients out of harm's way as the healthcare system collectively fought the spread of this infectious disease.
“It should be noted that the healthcare transformation that resulted thanks to COVID-19 wasn’t an outlier. Rapid change is quite common in an industry where internal and external pressures often expedite the development of new technologies to solve problems and deliver better patient outcomes.”
Suren Avunjian, LigoLab CEO
Breaking Down the Basics of Data Exchange
Suren next defines what data exchange in healthcare is, and that’s an electronic sharing of patient information between healthcare software systems and healthcare facilities like labs, hospitals, clinics, etc.
He also provides brief overview summaries of what EHR systems and LIS systems are used for within the healthcare industry. He writes that the seamless integration of these two types of systems is critical for the advancement of laboratory medicine, specifically in areas like precision medicine and personalized care.
“Once this convergence of health informatics is achieved, the fast and accurate exchange of patient data and improved care outcomes is possible.”
Suren Avunijian, LigoLab CEO
Overcoming Data Exchange Difficulties
Suren states that the seamless exchange of patient information can and should not be taken for granted. The main reason for this is the fact that electronic health records and laboratory information systems in most cases are developed by different lab vendors and use different data formats and coding standards.
According to Suren, overcoming a challenge like this pales in comparison to the Coronavirus pandemic, but still, there are some similarities.
“First off, seamless data exchange only became a reality recently thanks to the early adoption of newly available technology. Secondly, the pressure throughout the industry to increase efficiency to match growing caseloads has also contributed, causing a change in behavior out of necessity.”
Suren Avunjian, LigoLab CEO
The Advantages of Data Convergence Are Many
Next, Suren notes the unrivaled importance of efficiency in healthcare to counterbalance the constant pressure to serve patients better while also dealing with major issues like rising operating and supply costs, declining reimbursements, and a crisis-level shortage of skilled workers.
Suren believes the effective convergence of healthcare informatics platforms like electronic health records and laboratory information systems can serve as relief valves for the mounting pressures and also result in other real and tangible benefits like collaboration and real-time sharing of data, plus streamlined workflows, enhanced accuracy, more complete patient files, much better patient engagement, more cost-effective care, and richer data insights.
What Can Lab Leaders Do to Make the Promise of Seamless Data Exchange a Reality?
So what can today’s healthcare leaders do to keep the momentum and push for widespread adoption of seamless EHR-LIS connectivity?
Suren writes about the importance of getting everyone on board by clearly communicating all of the many benefits with stakeholders. Secondly, he writes about the importance of across-the-board support by providers for open data formats like Health Level Seven (HL7) and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR).
“I believe that universal adoption is within reach and that we’ll get there collectively by sharing success stories among providers. This industry is both challenging and ultra-competitive, so when healthcare decision-makers see a peer moving forward with technology, they are likely to follow suit.”
Suren Avunjian, LigoLab CEO
Checkout Other Suren Avunijan Articles
Avunjian is a highly sought-after lab industry voice and a contributor to the Forbes Business Council. Through his articles, he combines previous experience as a laboratory chief technology officer with a business acumen gained from nearly 20 years of leading an enterprise LIS software company. He can take often complicated subjects and turn them into easy-to-understand and compelling thought-leadership pieces.
About the Author
Suren Avunjian is a Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at LigoLab Information Systems, a company that specializes in licensing advanced laboratory information system software for medical laboratories nationwide.
Avunjian oversees all business growth and operations for the LIS company while leading a team of best-in-class personnel. He’s also the creative force behind LigoLab’s strategic vision to build the most comprehensive and infinitely configurable laboratory information system available, and then deliver and support that LIS system and lab billing platform with unlimited and unmatched customer service.