It’s Time for Medical Labs to Embrace the Potential of Laboratory Informatics

It’s Time for Medical Labs to Embrace the Potential of Laboratory Informatics

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines laboratory informatics as the “specialized application of information technology to enable and enhance scientific processes and the delivery of laboratory information, helping to ensure high quality and reliable data and results.” 

In layman’s terms, a medical laboratory that’s fully committed to the successful transformation of laboratory informatics will be able to handle large volumes of patient and specimen data, integrate advanced technologies, streamline operational and financial workflow, meet all compliance requirements, and improve both client relations and patient care. 

Laboratory Informatics Starts With  Advanced Laboratory Information System Software

The importance of laboratory informatics is rising thanks to an ever-increasing volume of complex healthcare processes and data. Because of this, efficient management of staff, lab workflow, and data are keys to ensuring healthcare providers have quick and seamless access to diagnose diseases and make treatment decisions. 

Laboratory data comes in many forms, including patient demographics, patient samples, test results, and patient history. This data is typically managed by a laboratory information system (LIS abbreviation medical). A laboratory information system software is tasked with recording, updating, and storing patient-related information, tracking samples, and generating and distributing lab reports.

Learn More: A Conversation With LIS System Administrator Kristie Becerra

For clinical and reference labs and pathology groups to keep pace with the changing times and added demands on their businesses, investing in robust and modern LIS system software that brings innovation into their labs is imperative. Without it, the labs will struggle with efficiency, accuracy, and accessibility. 

They’ll struggle because a legacy lab information system that dates back 10 years or more will lack several features and functionality that come standard in a modern medical LIS system. These modern pathology lab management solutions are much better able to serve as a mission-critical system of record and a single source of truth for many reasons.

Learn More: How to Turn Your Mid-Sized Medical Laboratory into a Thriving Large-Scale Operation

For a closer look at the stark differences between modern laboratory information system software and rigid and outdated legacy LIS software, we invite you to click the link below.

Learn More: Comparing LigoLab Informatics Platform with Legacy Laboratory Information Systems 

A laboratory assistant conducts laboratory tests

Examples of Advanced Laboratory Information System Technology

Now that we’ve established the importance of a modern medical laboratory information system and its critical role in enhancing laboratory informatics, let’s dive deeper and highlight specific examples of how an advanced LIS system promotes overall lab value by effectively integrating cutting-edge technology into a laboratory setting. 

Sample Tracking

A pathology specimen tracking system or lab sample management system comes standard with advanced LIS system software, offering comprehensive and error-free sample tracking capabilities. From sample collection to the test result, the lab information system ensures that every sample is accounted for and correctly processed. 

Gone are the days of missing or misidentified samples that result in delayed turnaround times. Those headaches have been replaced by a pathology lab management system that assigns specimen-unique identifiers when a test order has been placed, integrates with barcode printing hardware, and provides full traceability for all specimens, including specimens attached to batch orders. 

Learn More: How Specimen Tracking Software Improves Efficiency and Reduces the Chance for Diagnostic Errors

Rules and Automation

Advanced laboratory information system software (pathology lab software) features rule configuration functionality. By stringing together rules that lead to a logical conclusion, automation is created to eliminate repetitive manual tasks. 

Learn More: Automation in Pathology Labs Using Advanced LIS System Software

This automation significantly increases efficiency and reduces the chance of errors during laboratory workflow. Also noteworthy, automation helps with another ongoing problem within lab circles: the ongoing shortage of qualified lab personnel

Learn More: How Modern Laboratory Information Systems Can Protect Against External Threats Like Labor Shortages

Interfacing With Laboratory Software Systems and Third Parties

Interfacing a laboratory information system with other laboratory software systems and other lab vendors remains an industry-wide problem thanks mainly to a lack of standardization and the use of older LIS systems that weren’t designed with modern interoperability capabilities in mind. 

Fortunately, that’s changing because a modern LIS system can excel where a legacy LIS system can’t, achieving maximum interoperability with lab analyzers, Electronic Health Records (EHRs), State Registries, and third-party plug-ins much easier than in years past. 

A modern laboratory information system includes an interface engine that supports all standard interchange protocols (including FHIR, HL7, X12, XML, CSV, PDF, Flat File, ASTM, and Restful API). 

Learn More: LigoLab Delivers the LIS System Interoperability Needed to Transform Medical Laboratories into Thriving Businesses


Regulations within the healthcare industry are constantly evolving, so not having an adaptable lab information system that prioritizes compliance heightens the lab’s risk of an audit and potential punitive penalties for noncompliance. 

A modern LIS system has features like ad hoc data query capabilities, compliance verification at every stage, and training and support modules. These features make it much easier for labs to operate within the guidelines put forth by regulatory bodies. 

Ad Hoc Data Query Capabilities: This feature allows laboratory personnel to efficiently access and analyze lab data crucial for responding to unexpected queries or audits, enabling labs to provide specific information quickly and accurately. This feature also ensures that labs can adapt to new reporting requirements or data analysis needs on the fly without an extensive overhaul of LIS system modifications.

Compliance Verification at Every Stage: A modern LIS system has built-in checks and balances that continuously verify compliance throughout various stages of laboratory operations. This includes patient data entry, sample processing, test result reporting, storage, and retrieval. By automating compliance checks, the lab information system reduces the risk of human error and ensures consistent adherence to regulations at all times.

Training and Support: Understanding the complexities of compliance requires continuous education and support for LIS staffing and all laboratory personnel. An advanced LIS system often includes training modules and support teams to help staff stay informed about compliance-related changes and LIS system functionalities.

Alignment with Regulatory Bodies: Modern LIS system software is designed to align with guidelines set forth by major regulatory bodies such as the College of American Pathologists (CAP), Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This alignment is vital as it ensures the laboratory's operations are current with the latest industry standards, reducing the risk of non-compliance and penalties. As regulations change, a lab’s LIS system must be capable of adapting through regular updates. A modern LIS system is designed for this type of scalability.  

Modern LIS system software

Laboratory Billing and Laboratory Revenue Cycle Management 

Laboratory billing and lab revenue cycle management (RCM) have taken on greater importance thanks to ongoing reimbursement cuts coupled with rising costs, staff shortages, and complex payer arrangements. A legacy LIS system interfaced with a disparate laboratory billing system is without exception subject to revenue leakage thanks to major issues with data integrity and synchronization as information flows from the LIS system to the RCM software during the laboratory billing process. 

A modern LIS system such as the LigoLab LIS & RCM Laboratory Informatics Platform has addressed this data integrity problem head-on by engineering a creative and effective LIS software solution that enables lab revenue cycle management to begin as the test order is created. 

The LigoLab platform also supports demographics verification, eligibility, and claim scrubbing features at this stage, plus automated ICD and CPT coding. This is possible thanks to LigoLab’s unified database and software infrastructure which allows its LIS system and lab RCM modules to share the same data and operate in parallel. Because of this, end-to-end data integrity is assured. 

These innovative RCM tools are supported by LigoLab’s all-in-one platform, enabling labs to greatly increase their clean claims ratios, boost their net collections, and reduce time spent on accounts receivable. 

To learn more about LigoLab’s laboratory information system functions and the platform’s laboratory billing solutions, we invite you to learn more below.

Learn More: Documenting the Avero Diagnostics Move From a Legacy Lab RCM System to LigoLab’s All-in-One Lab Informatics Platform

Direct-to-Consumer Lab Testing

Direct-to-consumer lab testing, a service where patients can order diagnostic tests and receive their test results directly from the laboratory’s diagnostic lab software, gained prominence during the Coronavirus pandemic and remains important today, too. 

Laboratory LIS system software applications like TestDirectly make this direct interaction possible for all diagnostic testing or preventative screening, providing patients with convenient and private access to testing, and laboratories with a scalable solution that expands services and supports the growth of consumerism in healthcare

Labs with a legacy LIS system will struggle to service due to the LIS system’s outdated design, interoperability issues similar to the ones already mentioned above, and lack of capacity to handle a large influx of consumer-generated data while maintaining data security. 

Learn More: Highlighting the Versatility of the TestDirectly Direct-to-Consumer Lab Testing Portal

Digital Pathology

With each passing day, more and more pathology groups are discarding their traditional glass slides for digitized ones. The advantages created by digital pathology are many, including shorter wait times for results, increased precision of diagnosis, and better collaboration between pathologists. 

But labs with a legacy LIS system can’t enjoy these advancements, due mainly to interoperability issues and non-aligned formats. For example, an older LIS laboratory information system lacks the interfaces or APIs (application programming interfaces) required for connectivity with digital pathology systems. 

This is not a problem for a modern LIS system with a flexible architecture and better interoperability features, including standardized interfaces and APIs. A modern laboratory information system is also customizable and scalable, two other key requirements for digital pathology. 

Learn More: Digital Pathology: The Future is Here

Digital pathology

Turning LIS System Insight into Action

Medical laboratories that partner with LIS software vendors that produce modern LIS systems stand to benefit today with advanced technology within the lab space and in the future thanks to the insights gained from employing these advanced applications.

A modern laboratory information system bridges the gap between laboratory informatics and laboratory operations in several ways.

Improved Efficiency: A modern laboratory information system streamlines lab workflow, automates processes, and reduces manual repetitive tasks. All this leads to faster turnaround times, decreased errors, and improved overall efficiency that labs using a legacy LIS system simply can’t match.

Enhanced Data Management: An advanced lab information system ensures data integrity and specimen traceability at every stage. The LIS system collates data from multiple sources into one unified database, eliminating the need for manual data entry and its associated errors, and it also excels in areas like specimen storage, and retrieval, making it much easier for lab personnel to access and analyze the collected data.

Quality Control and Compliance: An advanced LIS system software helps medical laboratories remain compliant thanks to built-in quality control measures that ensure consistent and accurate test results, and robust audit trails that record all user and LIS system-based actions and events. 

Data Analysis and Interpretation: Laboratory informatics tools that enable analysis and interpretation of the data also reside within a modern LIS system. For example, widgets and dashboards allow labs to identify trends and visualize the data in a way that aids in decision-making and interpretation of test results.

Integration and Interoperability: A modern laboratory informatics platform includes a purpose-built interface engine that supports all standard exchange protocols and integrates with various analytical instruments and laboratory software systems. The engine facilitates seamless data exchange between departments and external third-party entities such as laboratory billing services and state reporting agencies.

Remote Access and Collaboration: A modern LIS system enables remote access to data and test results, fostering enhanced collaboration opportunities and faster turnaround times. 

Enhanced Focus on the Patient: A modern informatics solution supports patient consumerism, and that’s a big plus in terms of potential new revenue opportunities for medical labs. Patients want more control and convenience when it comes to their healthcare. Labs that can accommodate this by organizing and presenting laboratory data that are easily understandable for them will be way ahead of the curve. 

Laboratory Inventory Management: An advanced laboratory information system can also help manage laboratory supplies by tracking inventory and alerting lab leadership when to order more. This type of lab informatics prevents shortages and reduces medical waste. 

Two More Important LIS System Benefits to Consider

In addition to what’s been listed above, labs that invest in a modern LIS system and the advanced laboratory informatics it provides will also win in terms of customization and cost savings.

Unlike a legacy LIS system, modern LIS software solutions offer highly configurable options that cater to a lab’s specific needs and environment. This level of customization promotes scalability, allowing for the adaption and expansion of capabilities to meet new requirements or go after new business opportunities. 

Lastly, no matter the business, costs are always a factor, so having a laboratory information system that automates processes, reduces errors, and optimizes resources and connectivity will lead to big cost savings in the long run. 

Learn More: What You Need to Know Before Contracting with a Laboratory Information System (LIS) Company

Michael Kalinowski
Michael Handles Marketing and Communications for LigoLab

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