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Six Factors That Should Be Considered Before Upgrading Lab Report Capabilities

It’s often said that the laboratory report is the product or calling card of a laboratory, so the performance of the reporting module should be a priority for any lab leader in search of a new laboratory information system (LIS). 

Questions related to reports come up every time we do a software demonstration, once again reflecting how fundamentally important they remain in the industry. Because of this, we’ve put together a list of six factors that should be considered when speaking with LIS vendors about LIS reporting capabilities. 

Interoperability - It doesn’t matter how good the report looks if no one can see it. Choose a system with an open architecture and a robust interface engine. Both are needed for connectivity with a wide range of electronic medical records and billing services used by hospitals and health systems across the country. The best solutions support a wide variety of formats, including PDF, XML, and HL7. What the report looks like on the receiving end is also critically important. Transferred reports need to be formatted correctly so that they look good on the receiving EMR. Don’t forget to also ask if the LIS can support embedded PDFs, attachments, and links in the HL7 message.

Flexibility - Don’t spend all of the time and resources that go into implementing a new LIS without first learning how flexible the system is. Can it deliver fully customizable report templates that look the way you want them to look, pixel-by-pixel? Can it build templates for co-branding opportunities with clients? Can it deliver more value for clients through personalization and saved preferences? Be sure to ask the vendor if the customization of reports is an option. If they say yes, they will also likely be able to provide training that will allow you to make changes to the templates in-house at no extra cost. Find out if the LIS can generate unique patient reports and host them on a patient portal, and can send critical results to the provider via SMS, fax, etc.

CLICK HERE for an example of LigoLab's template-driven reports that include key elements like full-color rich text, diagrams, and images , all licensed and pre-loaded into the system.

Configurability - We’ve addressed template flexibility, but equally important is the configurability that exists. Be sure to ask the vendor if the templating engine is embedded in the LIS or it’s a stand-alone software like Crystal Reports. For advanced features, you might want to check if it can support macros and the ability to bring in ANY discrete field from the system or apply conditional rules in the report template. These questions are often overlooked, and some vendors may not have the configurability you’re going to need. Ask the questions now instead of six months down the road to make sure your lab doesn’t get stuck with an expensive software development charge, or even worse, be told by the vendor that it’s not possible to accommodate your needs. Can attachments, including images, and diagrams be added to the reports and can they be annotated? These are three more important factors to consider when deciding what to do going forward. 

Fully Customized Surgical Report

Integrated Reporting - Can the system that you’re looking at automatically pull the results of multiple tests across multiple departments into one well-organized and easy to read report summary? Integrated reporting sure beats the time-consuming and error-prone alternative of having a pathologist manually compile all of the data on a word document. Hemepath reports can take 20 minutes for a pathologist to assemble using traditional tools. Modern LIS platforms automatically build the report for the pathologist as soon as the case is opened, pulling in CBC results, Flow Cytometry Interpretation, and Final Dx from the Surgical report as an example.

Decision Support System - To enhance the value of reports and improve care, many modern labs are incorporating decision support systems or best practice protocols into their reports. These risk assessment tools help caregivers filter through data quickly and serve as a guide for the treatment of a patient and the next steps in care. As the industry continues to move toward value-based care and away from fee-for-service, a decision support system creates added value for the lab. Be sure to ask the vendor if the laboratory information system and its reporting engine support a decision support system. 

Distribution - Now let’s talk about distribution. What good are aesthetically pleasing reports if the system producing them can’t effectively distribute them? Can the system automatically distribute reports through an outreach module? Does it support delivery through email, fax, provider and patient web portals, remote and local printers, and SMS? Other than smoke signals, the vendor you choose should be able to deliver the reports to your clients with ease. 

LigoLab Report Distribution Channels

The LigoLab LIS & RCM Operating Platform is the most flexible and configurable platform available on the market, and we demonstrate this with our fully customizable report templates. Our reporting and distribution engine drives this process by creating reports that consolidate and augment test results with rich text formatting, images, and cumulative charts. Once finalized, the reports are then distributed automatically through every channel available.

Our clients not only gain the freedom to create the reports that they desire, but they also get the deep domain expertise and best practices that come with software developed by pathologists and laboratorians since 2006. Plus we offer friendly, responsive, and unlimited customer service available 24/7. 

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We know a lot of laboratories are dealing with the frustrating issues that come with an old and outdated laboratory information system. Is this the case for you?

Is the LIS you’re using holding you back? Tired of pain points like shrinking reimbursements, high denial rates, increased government regulations, and a lack of skilled technicians? Looking for a better and more efficient way to control costs, increase revenue, and scale your laboratory?  We can help.

To request a demonstration, contact Suren Avunjian at (818) 395-4659 or suren@ligolab.com.

For more information visit LigoLab.com.

 


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