Market Differentiation and Unmatched Customer Service: Two Major Reasons Why You Should Consider LigoLab for Your LIS System Upgrade

Market Differentiation and Unmatched Customer Service: Two Major Reasons Why You Should Consider LigoLab for Your LIS System Upgrade

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The benefits associated with new technology are incredible, especially when it comes to streamlining and optimizing clinical labs and pathology groups. Words like increased efficiency, enhanced productivity, and cost savings are often part of the siren song that lures even the most change-resistant lab managers and directors away from their current technologies. Unfortunately, the excitement of a new LIS (laboratory information system; also known as LIS software and pathology lab report software) can quickly be replaced with disappointment if the lab chooses the wrong LIS company to partner with.  

This is not to say that lab leaders shouldn’t upgrade their laboratory information systems, quite the contrary. Given the current environment, upgrading to a robust LIS software that can handle a lab’s current and future requirements is a must. 

“Modern laboratory information systems streamline and automate several tasks, creating a leaner, more competitive, and efficient operation while providing complete visibility into all business processes,” said LigoLab CEO Suren Avunjian.

When evaluating LIS vendors, lab decision-makers need to consider more than just the marketing hype. They need to examine the entire pathology management software package to see what the best LIS system can do in terms of market differentiation for their business. 

What are the lab information system’s features? Where does the LIS system rank in functionality? Is it adaptable? Is the LIS software scalable? What’s the pricing and incentive model? What about the level of customer service? Is the LIS company interested in investing in the organization long-term, or just selling it pathology lab software with a high upfront cost and no long-term plan for success?

“The need to differentiate is a major reason why lab managers choose laboratory information system software like ours,” said Avunjian. “Modern LIS systems and the LIS software vendors that support them create differentiation by providing labs unique advantages in their marketplaces, enabling them to easily support and retain the clients they already have while attracting and expanding new sources of clients and revenue.”

Avunjian noted that across the country, labs are using similar equipment, and they all have the same board-certified medical directors. Because of this, modern LIS systems like LigoLab’s LIS & RCM Laboratory Informatics Platform™ have become key market disruptors, enabling some labs to rise above others in terms of features, functionality, and scalability. 

For LigoLab in particular, the LIS company offers a future-ready informatics platform plus unlimited and unmatched customer service from its best-in-class personnel. This level of LIS system support, unfortunately, isn’t the norm. It begins on Day One of the implementation process and continues to go live and beyond. 

“When you upgrade to a modern LIS system, you gain that all-important partnership with your LIS system provider and all the help – from implementation and training to tech support and community membership – that they have to offer,” said Avunjian. “For us as laboratory information system vendors, we view every interaction with a lab partner as an investment back into our company.”

In nearly 20 years of doing business, not a single customer has decided on their own to migrate from LigoLab’s comprehensive platform to an alternative medical LIS

“I think that speaks volumes about our LIS software, and also our customer service,” continued Avunjian.

 LIS system

A Lab-First Philosophy for Laboratory Information System Implementation

So how is this customer-first approach specifically reflected in LIS software system implementation? 

“We approach every implementation as if we are deploying the LIS system for our own needs,” said LigoLab Implementation Director Petros Martirosian. “As such, while we are not shy about sharing the latest best practices, we don’t force our lab partners into something that doesn’t work for them. Rather, we work with them and adapt our processes if needed to fit their specific needs.”

When it comes to the implementation of LigoLab’s flexible informatics platform, the process has been greatly refined since 2006. 

“We do the entire implementation in four high-level phases,” said Martirosian.

LigoLab LIS System

LigoLab’s Four Phases of Laboratory Information System Implementation:

Step #1: Discovery 

The first step for LIS system implementation is a complete domain analysis. LigoLab maps out everything, including lab workflow, tools, instruments, related software, and more to get a complete understanding of the lab’s current practices and capabilities. With that understanding, the implementation team can then advise and suggest key areas where improvements can be made while consulting with the organization’s interface team, laboratory billing team (lab revenue cycle management), third-party developers, and others. 

Step #2: Configuration

Once the implementation team has established how the lab will operate, it begins to actively configure the LIS system. The team starts by configuring master files and then builds the actual LIS system and lab workflow. Next LigoLab’s implementation specialists begin training users on all laboratory processes so they can validate if what has been mapped out works for them in practice. 

Step #3: Testing & Validation

After the LIS system software has been configured in a way that meets all the lab’s unique needs, lab personnel begin testing and validating the new LIS system in parallel. This means that all case types are processed in both the legacy LIS system and in the new LIS software for a minimum of two weeks before going live to identify any possible gaps and minimize potential disruption.

Step #4: Go-Live

Once testing and validation have been completed, the new laboratory information system is ready for go-live. As the lab starts to use this new and modern LIS system in a live environment, the implementation team handholds the lab for an additional two-week period, working directly with LIS staffing personnel to iron out any last-minute issues and make tweaks as needed.

The average LigoLab implementation timeline, from start to finish, is about two months. A refreshing change for an industry practice that is often measured in not months but years.   

LigoLab Never Leaves its Lab Information System Partners Out in the Cold

The end of laboratory information system implementation doesn’t mean an end to LigoLab’s support and hand-holding. In fact, in many ways, it merely marks the beginning.

“At the point where the implementation team drops off, the support team takes over,” said Martirosian. “To our lab partners, the transition is seamless. They inherit a dedicated team with intimate knowledge of their LIS system that can quickly resolve any reported issues.”

To help ensure that potential issues get resolved appropriately and without delay, LigoLab’s support team works within a three-tiered structure. Each support tier is focused on solving a specific range of issues and complexities. For every type of incoming request, there’s a specialized team member who’s qualified to resolve the issue. This tiered system makes it possible for the support team to triage and escalate its response to match the issue at hand.

Here’s how it works: 

  • Level 1

The lab emails or calls LigoLab to report an issue, and that automatically triggers a service request that gets sent to a level one engineer. The ticket is read, and if additional information is required, LigoLab contacts the lab. If the ticket cannot be resolved in level one for any particular reason, it gets escalated to level two.

  • Level 2

The level two support team receives the service request with additional, relevant input from the level one team. The level two team is composed of experienced engineers, who also have access to LigoLab’s Developer On Call (DOC). After a service request reaches level two support, the engineers themselves work on the solution. If they can’t resolve the issue, it gets escalated to the DOC for assistance. 

  • Level 3

If the issue can’t be resolved by the DOC or the level two engineers, the issue gets escalated to level three, a level composed of LigoLab’s elite software developers.

At each level, the engineer's performance is measured by weighing each request and categorizing it for a proper internal SLA (service level agreement). Peers and managers weigh in on the request to ensure proper weight and defined turnaround time are assigned. As issues get escalated the SLA changes as well. At each level, an initial assessment is performed to ensure that the issue has been properly escalated to provide the shortest SLA available.

After a request has been completed it may also be used as a random sample to QA the engineer’s performance. This ensures that best practices and knowledge are shared with everyone on the team.

The support team is available 24/7 and at no additional cost. This allows for the immediate fast-tracking of an issue as needed. Typically, the support team responds to the customer in less than 24 hours with a diagnosis, resolution, or an estimate of how long it will take to resolve the problem.

LIS Software

What About Laboratory Information System Updates?

Another important aspect of LigoLab’s lab-first philosophy is the laboratory information system vendor’s approach to platform upgrades and updates. LigoLab’s medical LIS solution is constantly growing, improving, and expanding to meet the growing needs of its clinical laboratory and pathology practice customers.

“We take great pride in our responsive service and in listening to our customers,” said Emanuel Basag-Taroata, a key contributor to LigoLab’s Customer Success team. 

“We are a dynamic team, and all our lab partners benefit from this agility. The platform is continuously evolving. At the same time, we regularly ask for customer feedback because if we can develop features that help our customers differentiate and become even more productive, it’s good for the entire LigoLab ecosystem of labs,” he said.

How Often is LigoLab’s LIS Software Updated?

LigoLab is constantly adding new features and functionality to its LIS software platform, and all updates can be added to a lab organization’s testing, training, and production environments at any time. However, to make the process less cumbersome, LigoLab also provides quarterly platform updates. Labs can opt in or out of these LIS software updates with the understanding that after two years with no upgrades, that lab’s version of the LIS software will expire.

“All that a lab manager or LIS system manager has to do to reference our latest updates is click the version features button embedded within the application,” added Basag-Taroata. “They can see what’s new instantly. All the latest features and their explanations are listed chronologically on this page.”

Updates to the laboratory information system are performed nightly, but this doesn’t impact the customer’s live version. 

“Once an upgrade request is made, we work closely with that lab to schedule the update to their liking,” said Basag-Taroata.

How Long Does a Laboratory Information System Upgrade Take? 

“During the great majority of the laboratory information system update process, there is no downtime,” said Basag-Taroata. “The only real downtime is when the lab’s updated training environment gets turned into a production environment. The downtime differs for each customer, depending on the server performance and the database size, but, in general, the bigger the version jump, the more time it will take to complete the upgrade.” 

The final step in the upgrade process involves taking the lab’s production system down and switching off all of the users that are currently logged in. LigoLab then creates a backup of the current production environment as a safety measure to protect the lab in case there’s an issue during the upgrade process. 

Any issues that arise during an upgrade take priority in LigoLab’s service queue, with bug fixes usually addressed within a matter of hours, and the complete update usually completed within a day.

“We consult with our lab partners during every phase of the upgrade process,” added Basag-Taroata. “We make sure they know how and when we will do it, so there are no surprises. It’s a partnership and we do it together.” 

To ensure that the upgrade process is as quick as possible and potential errors are mitigated, it’s LigoLab policy for no two customers to undergo upgrades at the same time. 

How the Laboratory Information System Upgrade Process Works 

To initiate a lab information system upgrade, all that’s needed is a formal request from the lab partner. This starts the process, with LigoLab’s award-winning support team taking care of the heavy lifting.

Step #1: The lab decides if it wants a LIS system upgrade.

To see the latest LIS software version, lab personnel can simply click the top menu within the application (click on “system” and then “version features”). When something new catches their attention they start the upgrade process by contacting the support team.

Step #2: Preparing the LIS system for the upgrade.

As soon as an upgrade request comes in, LigoLab configures a training environment to mirror the production environment of the latest version of the laboratory information system software. 

Step #3: Coordinated communication between the lab and the support team.

The support team maintains constant communication with the lab to make sure that any ongoing projects that have been configured inside their training environment have also been copied into the production environment, and that the latest configuration of the LIS system software is reflected in the production environment.

Step #4: A backup environment is created.

Once all of the configurations have been synchronized between the production and training environments, the support team creates a backup environment to guard against anything going wrong during the update.

Step #5: The laboratory information system is validated.

A copy of the lab’s production environment is brought over to LigoLab’s training environment, and the LIS system upgrade is initiated. Next, the LIS system is analyzed to make sure the new version includes all of the updates the lab has requested.

Step #6: Regression testing takes place.

This is where any issues are identified and immediately fixed. Regression testing includes a set of test cases (or test suites) and lab workflow that goes through the application from start to finish. Every time a developer makes a change to the code, a series of automated test cases are started and if part of the new code is broken, or if any of the outcomes are unsatisfactory, the developer is alerted. 

Regression testing helps eliminate many of the frustrations and headaches that typically come with an update. In addition, LigoLab uses a proprietary solution known as Hydra to test if the new version will break on the lab’s server. The development team accomplishes this by pointing Hydra at the lab’s server and recreating all of the lab’s orders from the previous 10 days, releasing them all at once to see if any errors or issues surface.

Step #7: The lab begins to test on its own.

After all of the issues have been identified and corrected, the support team hands the new training environment back over to the lab so that its personnel can commence testing. It’s recommended that the lab test the LIS system from end to end to make sure that everything is in order before the upgrade to the production environment takes place. During this testing period, the lab reports any bugs or errors, and they are addressed urgently by the support team before the version is moved to production.

Step #8: Go-live is scheduled and the LIS system upgrade is triggered.

After all remaining issues have been addressed, and the support team has received the go-ahead from the lab to deploy the upgrade in the production environment, both the lab and the support team agree on a timeframe for the upgrade to commence.

How Does LigoLab Decide When and What to Update?

“When we design LIS system upgrades, we look ahead to where technology trends are taking the industry and anticipate what our lab partner’s future needs will be,” said LigoLab COO Gor Kalantaryan. “We also design new features based on customer requests, which gets included into one code base slated to be part of our normal update to the rest of our laboratory partners.”

If the requested new LIS system feature can go on the development roadmap and be completed on LigoLab’s timeline, the feature comes without a billable development cost. If the requested new feature is a show-stopper and needs to be designed immediately, the LigoLab development team forwards a do-not-exceed quote to the lab in need of the expedited development work and makes the job a priority.

“In both cases, whether the new feature is on our timeline, or on a specific lab’s timeline, all of our customers will eventually benefit as the new feature will be incorporated into the latest version of the laboratory information system software,” said Kalantaryan. “We do this because our customers are a community amongst themselves and it’s in our best interest as a forward-thinking LIS company to give all of them what they need to remove growth barriers, become more efficient, and become more profitable.”

Best-in-Class Personnel With a Specialty in Advanced LIS Software Development

At LigoLab, we partner with our LIS system customers and take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for their lab informatics. 

The LigoLab platform fuels business growth and digitally transforms laboratories into information-driven and future-ready operations thanks to:

  • A comprehensive and infinitely configurable enterprise-grade laboratory information system software solution 
  • Powerful and fully integrated modules that provide end-to-end support for all lab workflow (including anatomic pathology, clinical laboratory, molecular diagnostics, laboratory revenue cycle management, and direct-to-consumer lab testing) 
  • Aligned pricing tiers, unlimited support, no hidden fees, and no limit on seats or modules

Learn more about the most flexible and comprehensive laboratory information system on the market by scheduling a LIS software demo today.

Michael Kalinowski
Michael Handles Marketing and Communications for LigoLab

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