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Is the Fear of Failing a Problem at Your Laboratory?

Is the Fear of Failing a Problem at Your Laboratory?

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If you’re a laboratorian who has worked at a pathology practice or a clinical laboratory for any length of time, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen the following scenario play out. 

The management at Laboratory X convenes a meeting with all department heads to discuss a growing problem, namely the performance and reliability issue created by its homegrown or legacy pathology software, commonly referred to as a laboratory information system or LIS in healthcare. 

Management has plans to grow the business, but at the moment those plans are on hold because the lab is struggling to even maintain its current customer base. Inefficient lab workflow and time-consuming manual processes have led to mistakes like lost or mislabeled specimens, resulting in unacceptable turnaround times and a damaged reputation in the marketplace. Widespread frustration among all departments is evident, and something needs to change, fast. 

From this meeting, management decides that enough is enough and that it is time to start engaging LIS software vendors to find the best LIS and to start realizing the lab’s stated goal of efficiently growing. 

The positive result of this meeting energizes all department heads, and they quickly relay the good news to their department colleagues. Much-needed change is on the horizon and everyone is on board even though this change will be a large undertaking.

Soon after the meeting, a committee is appointed to research the different laboratory software systems and then come up with a list of those laboratory information system companies to contact for more information and schedule a LIS software demonstration.

After several rounds of demonstrations with various LIS systems, the committee has come up with what they feel are the best LIS fits for the lab and they’ve recommended their choices to management. 

Management takes over from here, requesting further demos and business proposals from each LIS company that’s made the shortlist. Then suddenly and without warning, things change and management walks away from the planned organizational change altogether, leaving both the LIS vendors and the rest of the laboratory to wonder why.

What happened? Did cold feet lead to a decision to remain with the status quo? Ultimately, were the LIS software vendors unable to make a compelling enough argument for change with their LIS system? Can the project be resurrected or is it a lost cause? 

Laboratory software systems

Finding the Right Laboratory Information System LIS is Only Half the Battle

As mentioned earlier, the scenario above is quite common, a no-decision decision and remaining with the status quo is a human trait, as is the fear of failure, where an individual is more willing to accept and deal with a known problem instead of being personally responsible for a wrong decision. In essence, humans are programmed to fear messing up more than missing out. 

Overcoming the Fear and Making the Right Decision for Your Lab 

Resistance to change and the fear of failure can be overcome, and LIS vendors can help in this regard.

First, let’s discuss what lab leadership can do. 

  • Recognize that fear is a factor - Accept and acknowledge that this fear of failure is not only expected but also a valuable opportunity to learn and grow from the experience.
  • Set realistic goals and expectations - Modern laboratory software systems can make a huge difference in the long-term success of a laboratory, but that doesn’t happen overnight or with the flip of a switch. Lab leadership should set and communicate realistic expectations and celebrate even minor progress as it’s achieved. 
  • Take action - Move forward despite the fear and break down organizational tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. 

Next, here are questions that should be effectively answered by the LIS software vendors to reassure lab leadership that their pathology lab software is aligned with the lab’s business goals and that it’s in the lab’s best interest to move forward with a partnership. 

  • Does the LIS company have industry experience and a proven track record of success with independent clinical labs and pathology groups? 
  • Does it offer one static solution or does it possess the ability to understand our unique hurdles and tailor the LIS system accordingly? 
  • Is the LIS company committed to technological innovation and is the LIS system under continuous improvement? 
  • What type of information system support does the LIS company offer, and will that support take into consideration not only our current operational state but also our future aspirations? 
  • Has the LIS company been fully transparent with its pricing, including the potential hidden costs for adding new seats, new modules, and upgrades, and is it willing to align with your lab on the licensing of the LIS software by offering a low start-up cost rather than a large upfront capital investment?
LIS company

Focus on the Reward, Not the Risk

Another way to overcome this fear and resistance to change is for the laboratory to shift its focus from concentrating on the potential risks to concentrating on the rewards that it will realize soon after implementing a modern medical laboratory information system. As examples, here are two case studies that highlight a lab’s desired growth soon after upgrading LIS systems. 

In the first case study, Eastern Connecticut Pathology Consultants (ECPC) established three main objectives that it wanted to achieve by adding a modern anatomic pathology software system. To read the case study and learn more, click on the following link. 

How ECPC's Laboratory Information System Partnership Led to an Enhancement of Lab Operations and Business Growth

In the second case study, the focus is on Northwest Pathology (now known as Avero Diagnostics). The study reveals how the implementation of laboratory information system software with a fully integrated laboratory billing solution has radically improved both the operational and financial performance of the business. To read this case study, click on the link below.  

Leveraging LIS & RCM Integration to Improve the Laboratory Billing Process

Logo LigoLab

LigoLab Informatics Platform, Pathology Software Developed for Independent Labs

Is your pathology group or clinical/reference laboratory in need of a LIS software upgrade? If yes, be sure to check out what LigoLab has to offer. 

Dating back to 2006, LigoLab has partnered with independent labs and this focus has allowed the LIS company to engineer a lab informatics platform specifically built to overcome the hurdles that these labs face. With LigoLab Informatics Platform as the centerpiece, independent laboratories can scale efficiently and leverage a comprehensive and agile laboratory information system to navigate industry challenges and seize growth opportunities. 

Michael Kalinowski
Author
Michael Handles Marketing and Communications for LigoLab

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