Comparing LigoLab Informatics Platform with Legacy Laboratory Information System Software
April 7, 2023
Clinical laboratories (including those that support molecular lab testing) and pathology groups continue to take the pain associated with rigid, legacy laboratory information system software that lacks the functionality and flexibility to tackle today’s challenges. That’s a shame and unnecessary because multiple disparate systems and their inherent data silos can be replaced with modern all-in-one laboratory management solutions like LigoLab Informatics Platform. A Modern LIS system helps organizations operate more effectively by automating core processes and providing real-time visibility into both operational and financial performance.
What follows is a comparison between LigoLab Informatics Platform and the legacy LIS alternatives to help you better understand the differences and make the right choice for your laboratory business.
The Overall Platform
LigoLab Informatics Platform is an all-in-one software solution that includes modules for anatomic pathology, clinical laboratory, molecular diagnostics, revenue cycle management, and direct-to-consumer engagement. All of the modules share the same database and software infrastructure, and this translates into the most comprehensive and flexible LIS available for laboratories looking to modernize their businesses and scale.
With legacy LISs, it’s a given that modules for anatomic pathology and clinical laboratory don’t share the same software infrastructure, and there is no RCM module. Because of this, these systems are subject to data silos and the inconsistencies that inevitably come with multiple system arrangements.
LigoLab users also enjoy the maximum interoperability that comes with the platform’s proprietary interface engine, plus the configurability that comes with intuitive rule and automation engines that empower clients to make changes on their own, helping them streamline workflows and satisfy client preferences.
Upfront LIS Cost
LigoLab deeply aligns with its lab partners in terms of cost, offering a heavily subsidized package for training and implementation, followed by pricing based on a cost per test type and monthly volume. The higher the volume for the test type, the lower the cost per test. This model also includes no limits on seats, modules, upgrades, and support, and that support includes assistance with the configuration of report templates and platform rules if needed well beyond go-live. All of this is a big advantage for a lab that has plans to grow and scale its operations.
Legacy LIS upfront costs are considerably higher - hundreds of thousands of dollars higher in fact - and this doesn’t include the hidden fees that the lab will encounter for adding seats and modules as it scales. Efficiently scaling can also be a problem in this scenario as added support will almost certainly be an additional hidden cost and a timely response is not guaranteed.
In terms of customer service, the comparison between LigoLab’s offering and legacy LISs can be summarized as proactive vs. rigid.
LigoLab is only interested in long-term and mutually profitable partnerships with its clients, and the company backs up this core value in the form of constant improvements to the platform. Not a day goes by without three to five newly developed features and enhancements added to the platform, thereby future-proofing your laboratory by delivering unprecedented market differentiation and efficiencies to eliminate growing pains.
This level of improvement also demands an expert support team, and LigoLab delivers here, too, by offering unlimited 24/7 coverage and client enrollment in its continual service improvement (CSI) program. This is a forum where a specialized team regularly checks in with its clients to reevaluate workflows, remove bottlenecks, and suggest process improvements and best practices. The LigoLab team proactively monitors the health of your servers, configurations, and usage to prevent downtime and offer valuable insights.
Instead of implementing a legacy LIS system that won’t age well, LigoLab users get a future-ready LIS system backed by best-in-class development and support.
Laboratory Information System Companies and Ownership
LigoLab Information Systems is privately owned, and the company only answers to its customers. LigoLab focuses on referral-based partnerships, inbound leads, and on being accessible, and this reachable and accountable approach goes well beyond support and into the C-suite.
Legacy systems are typically owned by private equity groups that answer to shareholders and marketing for these systems tends to be heavily outbound.
Lab Workflow: Accessioning
A clear difference between LigoLab Informatics Platform and a legacy LIS presents itself in how a specimen is accessioned in the lab. With the legacy system, if an error is made during the accessioning of a case, it cannot be corrected after the requisition has been submitted. The only remedy is to amend the document, and the process is neither simple nor fast.
With LigoLab, there is a concept of tags and workflow actions, and these elements are highly configurable. As an example, this LigoLab feature allows the accessioner to share an identified issue with anyone else who interacts with a particular case and specimen downstream.
Tags add attributes or flags that can be tracked for quality assurance and quality control purposes (example: a case accessioned without a patient's birth date). Workflow actions require a resolution or follow-up by the customer service team before the task can be removed from the workflow actions queue (example: a billing issue - missing insurance), and these actions can be assigned to certain users or teams.
It’s also important to note that neither the tags nor the workflow actions will stop the specimen from continuing to the next step in the lab workflow (grossing, histology, etc.). For instance, if there’s a workflow action that’s been added to the case to alert users that there is a missing patient demographic in the report, the case will continue through processing and the pathologist’s diagnosis, but then be held in the workflow action queue until the patient demographic issue is resolved. Once resolved, the PDF report would be then re-generated to include the missing info and then distributed.
Lab Workflow: Specimen Tracking
With LigoLab as your LIS system, you have full traceability of the specimen at all times, and platform awareness of specimen hierarchy and case life cycle. Each specimen receives a unique barcode ID and the system is designed for just-in-time workflow with built-in specimen validation and security, making it all but impossible to lose or mislabel a specimen.
With a legacy system, there won’t be this same level of logic around specimens, and pulling data related to tracking can be problematic. Expect the search for a specimen and the identification of it in storage to also be much more difficult.
Additionally, LigoLab gives the user the ability to create real-time reports and dashboards that track laboratory productivity metrics and identify bottlenecks. With LigoLab, lab managers can easily track and dissect the data to get a true read on the lab’s productivity at both a high and granular level, no matter which stage of the lab workflow is being highlighted.
LIS Report Customization
LigoLab’s comprehensive bundle of LIS features includes flexible lab report customization capabilities. The driving force behind this functionality is a report-building template engine that gives LigoLab customers the ability to fully customize lab reports based on the client’s preferences, with no added cost.
“The report customization options with LigoLab are simply much more robust.”
That’s according to a lab technician that’s familiar with both LigoLab and a leading legacy system, having used them both in a professional setting.
“With the legacy system, the report templates were very basic and they didn’t vary from client to client. They were made up mostly of free text and included a default location for a customer’s logo.”
The lab tech added that there was also no differentiation between anatomic pathology and clinical laboratory reports within this particular legacy LIS.
LIS Ease of Navigation
With LigoLab, there’s never a reason to leave the application and open up another system. It’s an all-in-one software solution for anatomic pathology and clinical and molecular laboratory, and navigating from one module to the next is just a click away.
With legacy LIS systems, these two modules are inherently separate and can’t be active at the same time.
“To go from one module to the other, you have to close the program, go into the registry, change a key, and relaunch,” said the lab tech while referencing a personal experience.
The LIS AP Module and How it Supports Specific Roles
The LigoLab anatomic pathology module is intuitively built to support the various roles of the pathology lab workflow with queue-based logic that assigns specific tasks to specific departments. As an example, the grossing tech and the pathologist each have their own designated queues and areas to work from, with each queue representing a different stage as the specimen makes its way from accessioning to the release of the final report.
“These queues are live and based on the job description for each role in the lab workflow. No matter what your role is, you know exactly what you need to do with LigoLab Informatics Platform,” said the lab tech. “With the legacy system, this level of support for each role and each department simply does not exist.”
Both LIS systems have the concept of rules and allow users to build productivity through automation, but with the legacy system, it requires several more steps to set this up, and it’s much more complicated.
With LigoLab, automation can be quickly set up by an operator, with no technical or software development background, to do multiple tasks based on the scenarios presented and logical conditions. According to the reviewer, the major difference between the legacy LIS and LigoLab is that with LigoLab, the process is much more streamlined and it requires far fewer rules to get the desired result.
LIS User Permissions
With LigoLab, only those with administrative access can delete orders. That’s typically not the case with legacy systems, where a simple mistake like the accidental deletion of a requisition can leave the entire laboratory scrambling.
LIS Site Security
Legacy systems also typically lack site security, a must-have for multi-facility lab operations.
“Without this, a lab manager would have no way of knowing what belongs to each facility unless it’s manually tracked,” added the lab tech.
This is yet another area where LigoLab excels as its LIS module can be configured to support multi-facility operations, enabling each site to see only what it needs to see. In this scenario, access to both facilities is limited to those that have global site access permission.
There is a clear difference between legacy LIS systems and modern LIS systems like LigoLab Informatics Platform, and the differences go beyond the software and its functionality. Forward-thinking lab leaders know they simply cannot afford to switch systems often. They also know not to team up with just a software vendor, but instead with a software partner that’s fully invested in their business and is motivated to give them the tools and applications to grow faster and become more profitable.
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