Pathology Software and Laboratory Information Technology
November 21, 2023
A few months back we produced a blog that highlighted some of the key questions all anatomic and clinical pathology labs should be asking when they evaluate LIS software. The questions in that blog primarily focused on the support offered by laboratory information system vendors. For a quick recap, here’s a link to the blog with Vendor Services FAQs included.
Today we’ll once again focus on some of the key questions that need to be addressed when evaluating pathology software, but this time the area of emphasis will be on information technology.
The Use of Information Technology in the Medical Lab
Medical labs use information technology to enhance operations and improve how patients get tested, diagnosed, and treated, and as information technology advances, the impact of IT will continue to grow. LIS systems serve as examples of IT applied within the laboratory setting, with these LIS systems operating as the centerpiece of lab workflow as they manage lab processes and track specimens while also aiding in lab data management and reporting, quality control, and compliance with regulatory requirements.
Pathology lab Software Deployment & LIS System Architecture
When evaluating medical LIS, it’s important to understand that not all LIS software is alike. In fact, there are major differences between legacy LIS systems and modern laboratory software systems that offer the flexibility and functionality lab managers need to compete in today’s increasingly challenging landscape.
The best LIS software can be deployed in a variety of ways to fit the medical lab’s organizational goals and priorities. As an example, laboratory information systems like LigoLab Informatics Platform can be deployed both on-premises and in the cloud, and they can run anywhere around the world without VPN connections or terminal servers.
Having a LIS system with an agnostic backend is a major advantage as it allows the LIS vendor to accommodate installations of any scale on any operating system, while also fulfilling the Lab client’s specific requirements for a particular installation.
Pathology Reporting Software & Information Technology FAQs
Take a moment to review the IT FAQs listed below and then confirm with the laboratory information systems vendors that you’re speaking with that their LIS system has the desired functionality. If the response from the LIS company is “Yes” to all of the listed FAQs, you and your lab colleagues can rest assured knowing that the LIS model under review is both modern and full-featured.
- Does the LIS system operate with a traditional client-server architecture, with software installed on each machine that needs to access the system?
- Does the LIS system operate with a web-based interface, and can it be hosted on a server and accessed via a web browser?
- Does the LIS system contain a single, centralized database that can support multiple sites and departments?
- Does the LIS system's database conform to the Open Database Connectivity Standard (ODBC)?
- Is the LIS system designed to accommodate upgrades to the back-end database that don’t require extensive reconfiguration?
- Is the LIS system negatively impacted by multiple users?
- Does the LIS system apply security features to all system files?
- Does the LIS system apply log-in security to all servers and all workstations using the software?
- Does the LIS system provide a mechanism for workstation and server authentication?
- Does the LIS system apply Secured Socket Layer (SSL) encryption on the web client interface?
- Does the LIS system encrypt client passwords in a database with support for multi-case and special characters?
- Does the LIS system use TCP/IP as its network transport?
- Does the LIS system have data archiving functionality, including a configurable scheduled archive, for all contained data, without requiring an offline mode or human interaction to complete the task?
- Does the LIS system have automated backup and restore capability without support intervention, as well as manual backups?
- Does the LIS system maintain the transactional history of all system administrators?
- Does the LIS system maintain an analyst communication log that’s accessible by the administrator?
The next four FAQs cover questions related to the lab information management system and hardware and software environments.
- Is the LIS system compatible with a variety of hardware environments?
- Can the LIS system be utilized with a touch-screen?
Note: Here’s an example of how a touch-screen can be utilized with LigoLab Informatics Platform - LigoLab’s Grossing Workstation Window
Is the LIS system compatible with a variety of software environments?
Does the LIS system utilize a non-proprietary database such as Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server?
Notes: The majority of LigoLab Informatics Platform deployments are on a Microsoft SQL server. LigoLab provides read-only access to the database upon request.
For more information on LigoLab Platform hardware and software requirements and other technical specifications, please refer to LigoLab’s Prospects FAQs.
LIS System Software: a Mission-Critical Decision
Recent laboratory surveys have shown that the majority of users are unsatisfied with their current medical LIS thanks to a lack of functionality, inefficient manual lab workflow, and barriers between disparate pathology lab software. In most cases, these are examples of laboratory information systems that years ago fit the bill but are now considered legacy LIS systems because they haven’t kept pace with advances in LIS system software technology.
A rigid and outdated lab information system lacks the performance, reliability, and scalability needed to excel in the modern medical lab. Fortunately, there are modern alternatives, and the best LIS software is now able to unite all diagnostic disciplines, departments, roles, processes (including lab billing), and specimens in one powerful end-to-end lab informatics system that covers both a lab’s technical and financial operations.
All lab managers know that the selection of the right LIS is mission-critical for the medical laboratory to grow efficiently, so asking the right questions and reviewing all of the resources available are highly recommended steps lab management should take when faced with such a momentous decision.
With that in mind, LigoLab has put together a helpful Resource Hub that includes White Papers, Case Studies, Webinars, Testimonial Videos, and Product Overview Videos. Here also is a great resource from Clinical Lab Products magazine that focuses on the 7 Best Practices for a Successful LIMS/LIS Implementation.
LigoLab’s All-in-One Pathology Lab Management Solution
LigoLab Informatics Platform offers unlimited flexibility in setup, with over 1,000 configurable entities, giving users the ability to quickly introduce new tests, results, reports, and fields. Features include fully integrated LIS and RCM modules that eliminate data silos, a custom scripting language, a flagging subsystem, rule, automation, and interface engines, and much more.
Say goodbye to inefficient LIS software and hello to increased productivity and net collections. To learn more about our LIS system software and how it can benefit your laboratory business, fill out our contact form below and request an intro call with a LIS product specialist.