Cost of Inaction: The Dire Consequences of Neglecting Modernization in Laboratory Operations and Informatics

Cost of Inaction: The Dire Consequences of Neglecting Modernization in Laboratory Operations and Informatics

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In today's ever-evolving medical landscape, characterized by declining reimbursements, staffing shortages, and competitive and regulatory pressures, advanced laboratory information systems (LIS) are no longer a luxury; they are a necessity. 

Modern laboratory information systems are the backbone of any clinical laboratory or pathology group, supporting laboratory workflow management of patient and sample data, automating tasks and workflows, and interfacing with third-party laboratory software systems. These robust LIS systems are built by laboratory information system vendors with the customer in mind, providing game-changing lab report customization and lab report delivery options, interoperability, and even laboratory billing solutions that fully support an in-house revenue cycle management (RCM) process. However, despite the clear benefits, many medical laboratories are still operating with legacy and inadequate medical LIS systems and not prioritizing operational modernization.

By sticking with outdated LIS systems, these medical labs represent the cost of inaction, and this inaction can be far more expensive in the long run when compared with the cost of investing in a modern, efficient, and scalable LIS system.

RCM process

A Failure to Modernize and the High Risk of Sticking with Outdated Laboratory Information Systems

As the healthcare sector and technologies continue to evolve at an accelerated pace, medical laboratories that continue to rely on legacy laboratory information systems for their pathology lab software solution face increasing risks and missed opportunities. 

That’s because there are direct costs associated with outdated laboratory information systems. 

Cost Increases Over Time

Legacy LIS systems are likely to have outdated hardware and software components that are no longer supported by the LIS company and other lab vendors and manufacturers. As laboratory information systems age, the likelihood of LIS system failure increases dramatically, potentially causing major downtime and disruption of lab operations, a worst-case scenario for any lab. Additionally, as the LIS software ages, a larger percentage of the IT budget will need to be spent on LIS system operations and maintenance. 

Learn More: How do I Know if My Laboratory has Outgrown its LIS System?

Cost of Reliability 

Legacy LIS systems may not be equipped to handle the current volumes or the complexity of the tests that modern labs are running, leading to slowdowns, bottlenecks, and manual workarounds. These inefficiencies can have a significant impact on turnaround times, which in turn can adversely affect patient care and client satisfaction. 

Cost of Functionality 

Legacy laboratory information systems lack modern features like cloud computing and advanced lab analytics, thereby limiting a lab's ability to adapt and change when the business climate calls for it. In cases like these, lab leaders often opt for short-sighted pathology lab management solutions by adding additional software products and intra-system interfaces to fill the gaps. This creates a spaghetti bowl of laboratory software systems that are costly to maintain and that are susceptible to synchronization issues and inconsistent data. Rather than having one source of informational truth, the LIS system becomes a liability and the quality and integrity of the data are unassured. 

Cost of Competitive Edge 

Thanks to scalability constraints and configuration complexity, legacy LIS systems keep labs from reaching their full potential. They are at a competitive disadvantage when compared with their technologically adept competitors. For example, legacy laboratory information system companies often charge thousands of dollars for any requested configuration change, and then take weeks and even months to complete the request. Even worse, sometimes these requests are ignored. Adding insult to injury, that same request might’ve taken a matter of minutes with a modern and flexible LIS system that allows lab staff to make these types of changes in-house and without external help. 

Cost of Stagnation

Legacy lab information systems are not built to evolve. They are static and rigid. This type of LIS model is suited for the reality of the time it was built, rather than the present day. Instead of supporting continuous development that benefits the lab, this antiquated LIS system software creates an artificial ceiling for growth and becomes a liability with time.

Cost of Revenue

Relying on old laboratory information systems most likely also means that labs will experience a decrease in net collections over time due to revenue leakage. Legacy LIS systems often struggle in terms of laboratory billing integration and code capture thanks to data silos and the need to synchronize among disparate systems. The best LIS software platforms overcome this by enabling the laboratory billing cycle (RCM cycle) to start as the order enters the lab, and by offering a suite of revenue cycle management tools (like a demographic check, address validation, insurance discovery, and eligibility verification) that curtail clerical mistakes and reduce the potential for denials. 

Learn More: The Power of Integration: Unleashing the Potential of LigoLab Informatics Platform in Your Lab

Cost of Missed Opportunity

Sticking with legacy laboratory information systems prevents labs from taking advantage of new technologies, such as digital pathology solutions, automation, artificial intelligence, interoperability with third parties and instrumentation, and data analytics. These are examples of how labs can become tech-enabled to enhance their services and improve patient care. In today's competitive healthcare landscape, with costs on the rise and margins falling, the ability to innovate is crucial for a lab’s survival. By clinging to old LIS lab solutions, these organizations miss out on harnessing available and innovative tools to improve their operations and offer more advanced services.

Cost of Compliance and Security 

Legacy LIS systems increase the potential for errors and lab data security breaches that expose both the lab and the patient. Additionally, with healthcare’s ever-changing rules and standards, labs equipped with legacy laboratory information system software often struggle to keep up with the changes, and this can result in non-compliance and regulatory penalties. 

Cost of Labor

The lack of modern integration capabilities in legacy LIS systems leads to inefficient lab workflow and manual processes. Unlike modern LIS systems with automation features and maximum interoperability, legacy pathology LIS systems likely require lab personnel to manually enter lab orders and patient data into these systems. During processing, lab technicians may also need to redundantly input or retrieve data from multiple sources and manually search through physical records or contact other departments for missing information. Additionally, outdated lab information systems are often subject to inefficient sample tracking and subpar reporting and test analysis capabilities. Add to this the need for frequent maintenance and lab technicians troubleshooting technical issues related to the LIS software, and it’s easy to see how a legacy LIS in healthcare creates unnecessary and time-consuming manual steps that are prone to error and bottlenecks, adversely affecting processing times

Cost of Frustration

Legacy laboratory information systems can also directly affect the morale of lab personnel. Working with outdated pathology lab reporting software that leads to inefficient lab workflow and time-consuming manual processes can decrease job satisfaction and make it much harder for the lab to attract and retain skilled employees. 

Cost of Patient Care

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, is the cost of patient care. In an age where precision medicine is becoming more and more prevalent, having laboratory information systems that can handle complex genomic and molecular tests is crucial. Legacy LIS systems that can’t support this type of testing limit a lab's ability to provide the best possible patient care. 

Learn More: Comparing LigoLab Informatics Platform with Legacy Laboratory Information System Software

Advanced Laboratory Information Systems

Advanced Laboratory Information Systems Eliminate Bottlenecks and Grow with Your Laboratory

In contrast to legacy lab information systems, a modern laboratory information system offers several advantages, starting with improved efficiency and patient safety and continuing into cost savings and increased revenue opportunities. A modern lab information system is designed to handle high volumes of complex tests, offering a streamlined clinical lab workflow that reduces errors, automates processes, maximizes connectivity, and improves turnaround times. It can seamlessly integrate with other laboratory software systems minus the data silos and redundant steps that often plague legacy LIS systems, reducing labor costs and enhancing data accuracy. Additionally, a modern laboratory information system platform is designed to support the latest testing technologies and methodologies, like precision medicine, laboratory revenue cycle management, and direct-to-consumer testing, enabling the lab to offer the most advanced care to its patients.

Investing in modern LIS systems is not just about reducing costs, it's about positioning your clinical laboratory or anatomic pathology group for future success. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, medical labs must be able to adapt quickly to changing business needs. By teaming with the best LIS software vendors and investing in modern laboratory information systems, labs can ensure they are equipped to handle whatever the future holds, from new testing technologies to increased demand for services. 

While the upfront cost of transitioning to a new LIS system can be significant, the long-term savings and benefits like improved efficiency, competitiveness, revenue, and future readiness far outweigh these initial costs. The real cost, as it turns out, is inaction from the laboratory, a cost that unfortunately only multiplies exponentially over time. For laboratories seeking to minimize threats and thrive in today's fast-paced healthcare environment, the choice is clear: invest in modern lab information systems and leave outdated LIS systems behind.

Your Time is Precious: Let LigoLab Handle Your LIS System Transition

In the fast-paced and increasingly complex world of laboratory operations, it's understandable that many labs hesitate to switch to a new laboratory information system (LIS). The prospect of dedicating time and resources to the transition can feel daunting, and with a seemingly unending list of tasks, the default decision often becomes "We don't have the time for change."

That’s unfortunate because there's a hidden and often overlooked cost to this decision - the ongoing inefficiencies, limitations, and missed growth opportunities that come with sticking with an outdated or inadequate LIS software solution. Ultimately, the time you believe you're saving is probably not a reality and the old LIS system is costing you more over the long run.

At LigoLab, we understand these concerns intimately. That's why we've designed a process that takes the burden off your shoulders. Our implementation methodology is all about doing the heavy lifting for you. We don't expect you to become IT or LIS system implementation experts overnight - that's our job. Our team of seasoned professionals works closely with your staff to handle the details of the transition, making it as seamless as possible.

We start by understanding your unique lab workflow, LIS and RCM process, and business needs. This enables us to configure and adapt our laboratory information system platform to mirror your existing operations while introducing efficiencies that drive productivity. Our team handles the data migration, system configuration, and user training. Additionally, our iterative testing and validation processes ensure everything is working as expected before the final switchover.

And we don't stop there - we stay with you post-implementation. Our ongoing support and constant LIS system updates ensure you're always at the forefront of laboratory innovation, without additional time or resource investment on your part.

The decision to upgrade your medical laboratory information system is a strategic move toward greater efficiency, growth, and competitive advantage. Let LigoLab handle the transition, so you can focus on what you do best: delivering exceptional laboratory services. It's time to stop saying, "We don't have time!"

Ready to discuss how LigoLab can help you navigate the transition with ease? Then let's connect. Click Here to schedule a call with one of our talented lab information system product specialists.

Kristen Conley, ECPC’s Chief Information Officer

LigoLab Case Study - Eastern Connecticut Pathology Consultants 

“Before our first LigoLab implementation, we were at the mercy of legacy LIS systems that were extremely limiting and rigid. Because of this, our growth potential was restricted. But with LigoLab, our growth potential is almost limitless.” 

-Kristen Conley, ECPC’s Chief Information Officer

Read the case study linked below and learn how Eastern Connecticut Pathology Consultants streamlined operations, facilitated business growth, and maintained its high standard of service quality by implementing LigoLab’s modern and agile laboratory information system.

Case Study: ECPC's Success Story: Tripling Productivity & Boosting Net Collections by 35% with LigoLab Informatics Platform

Suren Avunjian
As a Co-Founder and CEO, Suren Avunjian oversees all business growth and operations while leading a team of best-in-class personnel at LigoLab Information Systems, a LIS software company specializing in advanced laboratory information systems for medical laboratories nationwide.

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