Learn How LigoLab’s LIS System Became the Centerpiece of Change for ECPC, a Thriving New England Pathology Practice
January 15, 2024
Note: This article featuring Kristen Conley is the first of a two-part series focused on Eastern Connecticut Pathology Consultants and its laboratory information system (pathology lab management system) partnership with LigoLab. Part two of the series features Dr. Michael Hitchcock and Dr. Elizabeth Rinehart.
Sometimes, all it takes is a phone call.
In late December 2019, the leadership at Eastern Connecticut Pathology Consultants (ECPC) was in the final stages of deciding to move forward with a new laboratory information system (also known as a medical LIS). However even as the potential laboratory information system vendors had been narrowed down to two laboratory information system companies, the group was not entirely confident in making a final decision.
“It felt like whatever decision we were going to make, we would be settling,” said Kristen Conley, ECPC’s Chief Information Officer. “Then one of our pathologists connected with a colleague at a pathology practice in Colorado. That colleague suggested that we take a look at LigoLab.”
That prompted Conley to reach out and begin discussions with LigoLab’s CEO Suren Avunjian.
“It was right before the holidays and, surprisingly, Suren immediately responded and he and his team provided us with a couple of LIS software demonstrations. We were impressed with what we saw,” said Conley. “We quickly negotiated and executed our contract in early January, and we were live with our new LIS system by March of 2020.”
For Conley and the group, that uneasy feeling had been replaced by excitement knowing that they now had a critical piece in place to move forward with their progressive business plan.
“For me, being an IT person, I thought the LIS system platform was intuitive, easy to understand, and easy to navigate. There is also a lot of flexibility in the lab information system design,” said Conley. “Another big selling point for us was that LigoLab could be set up in the cloud and easily integrate with our interface engine.”
Even more important, Conley said the pathologists loved it.
“They loved how we could customize our report templates - incorporating our photomicrographs, adding graphics, textual effects based on clinical diagnosis, and practice/client branding. When comparing the features and functionality of LigoLab’s pathology lab management system with the other two lab vendors we were considering, LigoLab blew them out of the water. We quickly decided to move forward with LigoLab. Considering the functionality and the cost, it just made sense.”
Up to this point, ECPC had not needed its own, practice-owned LIS system software while providing diagnostic and laboratory management services for several community hospitals, endoscopy centers, and physician office laboratories in Connecticut and Massachusetts as those locations already had their laboratory information system solutions in place. It was only when operations expanded to Harrington Hospital that the group recognized an upgrade in LIS software technology and infrastructure was required to continue to support its many partnerships and to pursue new business opportunities.
“When I joined ECPC two years ago, we didn’t have an in-house LIS system. We didn’t even have an electronic office suite or email,” said Conley, referencing the fact that ECPC’s many pathologists were credentialed to work in multiple facilities and hospitals and were accustomed to moving from one facility to the next on any given day.
With that movement and the practice size growing, it necessitated the implementation of a unified communication and document-sharing pathology lab management system. “We set out to change that because we knew we had to get comfortable with enhancing our laboratory information system technology to stand apart as a business entity,” she said.
With LigoLab’s pathology reporting software serving as the centerpiece of change, Conley and Rebecca Dilorio, who at the time was a lead PA and is currently ECPC’s Executive Director, set out on the path to LIS system implementation.
“It was just she and I against the world. Rebecca was heavily involved in the clinical laboratory workflow and the training of our staff, and I was pretty much an IT party of one,” recalled Conley, a seasoned IT professional who is accustomed to being very hands-on, be it by managing providers, configuring and monitoring report distribution, standing up new clients, or building out the LigoLab platform.
Conley, Dilorio, and LigoLab Implementations Director Petros Martirosian next charted a course for ECPC to go live in early March 2020. The first live client was Harrington Hospital in Southbridge, Massachusetts.
“Soon after stabilizing the operation at Harrington Hospital, we switched to remotely supporting them because of the pandemic,” said Conley. “We then continued with planning for LIS system implementation for our next two clients.”
The next two clients were Starling Physicians (Rocky Hill, Connecticut) and Connecticut Gastroenterology Associates (Bloomfield, CT), two practices that took advantage of ECPC’s Physician Office Lab Management services (POLs).
“We offer turnkey solutions to practices that see the potential to improve clinical turnaround times and capture additional revenue streams with the addition of an on-site pathology laboratory,” said Conley. “We plan to continue to build out the client base, and using LigoLab will help us accomplish this. With this arrangement, the POLs gain an advantage by keeping everything close and in-house. The practices have more control over the quality, the turnaround time, and the relationships with their providers.”
For Conley, DiIorio, and the 17 pathologists that make up the core of ECPC, it was quite a year. From going live with a new laboratory information system just days before a national lockdown, to quickly shifting to a new normal while largely sustaining pathology operations during the early days of the pandemic, the practice continues to build out its client base.
“We're a phone call away, we're a secure text away, and we'll meet with you face-to-face. We want to be out there supporting our clients and physicians by providing an accurate diagnosis and quick turnaround times,” said Conley. “All of our pathologists are go-getters and they take a lot of pride in being highly available. They’re always looking for opportunities to improve, build better relationships, and give back in any way possible.”
That’s 17 pathologists and growing at ECPC because the group of highly motivated professionals intends to become the premier independent pathology group in the northeast.
To learn more about ECPC, its partnerships, and its doctors, visit ecpclab.com.