What is the Best LIS for Molecular Testing Labs?
August 3, 2021
Whether the last time you looked into a new laboratory information system (LIS) was 10 years ago or a few short months ago, forget most of what you’ve been told. The traditional LIS for molecular testing labs is now completely obsolete. That’s because nearly everything about the molecular laboratory ecosystem is changing, including clinical workflows, service delivery, reporting structures, lab instrumentation, reimbursement procedures, third-party interoperability, and more. And unlike the LIS of old, modern systems like LigoLab’s fully integrated LIS & RCM Operating Platform are designed to help labs tackle the ever-evolving lab environment with agility and ease.
In addition to this constant change, molecular testing labs are also beginning to play a much more prominent role within overall healthcare delivery. No longer the workhorse that’s tucked away in the hospital basement, molecular testing labs are now a vital, visible part of the healthcare package. Because of this, they require a LIS that goes beyond basic order capture and result delivery. They need a system that ensures flexibility within and beyond the lab’s network, features specimen lifecycle tracking and support, promotes scalability and efficiency, and enhances the lab’s value as a revenue center and care partner.
“Molecular testing labs play a vital role in today’s precision-focused medical world,” stated LigoLab CEO Suren Avunjian. “Rapid advances in biochemical genetics and molecular genetics are driving precision-medicine forward, which is a big reason why we are seeing increased demands on our molecular lab partners. We understand their unique needs and have created a lab software platform that is not only agile, but that also helps these labs scale their operations efficiently.”
The fact that these labs were able to keep up with unprecedented demand and continued to scale even as COVID-19 cases surged during the pandemic demonstrates just how powerful and agile the platform is.
“The fastest growing laboratories in the U.S. last year were LigoLab clients,” continued Avunjian. “All of our molecular lab partners scaled their volumes exponentially, and some witnessed explosive growth, with volumes going up by 6000 percent.”
Precision Medicine is Fueling Growth for Molecular Testing Labs
At the intersection of data and patient specimens, more and more molecular testing labs are becoming the de facto interpreters of data-rich biospecimens. Within the practice of precision medicine, this elevated role is helping clinicians form a better understanding of clinical pathways and treatment options, including options for drug selection, specialized therapeutics, and more. This also means that diagnostic tests are becoming much more complicated, with results often so complex that physicians and their staff can’t easily understand them. Because of this, molecular labs are the logical source for helping healthcare providers understand the relevance of certain results.
“When we say that molecular testing labs are coming out of the basement, this is what we mean,” said Avunjian. “Today’s labs go well beyond traditional collection and reporting. They are now often part of the broader diagnostics and treatment team.”
Not all molecular testing labs find the opportunity to elevate their role within the healthcare ecosystem enticing, however. Some molecular lab managers are resistant to adding more of a strain on their current workloads. But recognizing the value that clinical labs hold for advancing medicine, forward-thinking lab managers are turning to technology platforms like LigoLab for molecular testing operations support.
With a future-ready platform such as LigoLab’s, opportunistic lab operators can now take advantage of emerging digital technologies and the rapid growth of patient consumerism to open up new revenue sources. One way to do this is by offering diagnostic testing and preventative screenings to patients from the comfort of their homes.
LigoLab recently announced that its TestDirectly patient engagement portal now fully supports at-home testing and laboratory services that include the online ordering of a test kit, the shipping of the test kit to the patient’s home, the laboratory’s receipt of the patient’s specimen after collection, the processing of the specimen, the automated delivery of the test result back to the patient, and the videoconferencing and scheduling of consultations if needed.
“TestDirectly supports any kind of direct-to-consumer test and serves as a marketplace for enhanced and specialized laboratory services,” said Avunijian. “The platform enables laboratories to gain visibility and grow their brands as they align with consumers and provide them with a streamlined and unified experience.”
More Labs Find Value in LigoLab
Northwest Laboratory, a division of Northwest Pathology (NWP), has been providing a wide range of pathology services for northwest Washington for over 25 years. Just over six years ago, NWP began a laboratory information system (LIS) partnership with LigoLab, and two-plus years ago it switched from its legacy Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) vendor to LigoLab’s RCM solution and became fully integrated on LigoLab’s flexible and comprehensive LIS & RCM Operating Platform. LigoLab’s all-in-one software solution unites all LIS and RCM workflows onto one powerful software infrastructure that eliminates data silos and enables the billing cycle to begin at order inception.
Just months into this new partnership, NWP was already witnessing sizable gains in efficiency, accuracy, and most importantly, net collections, which went up by 35 percent and has sustainably stayed at that level ever since. Here’s a link to download a white paper that highlights NWP’s sustained growth - Download White Paper.
Reditus Laboratories is another lab that turned to LigoLab’s fully integrated platform for support with all of its laboratory and financial operations. More than two years ago, Reditus Laboratories was able to quickly pivot and add molecular testing to its growing histopathology business. To learn how Dr. Aaron Rossi and his team were able to transform and expand the pathology lab into a facility processing 25-30k COVID-19 orders per day, check out this LigoLab case study that was published just days after Reditus surpassed one million COVID-19 tests.
Also noteworthy, Reditus Laboratories recently achieved CAP accreditation with a perfect score.
Ensuring Agility in a Changing World
As mentioned earlier, the traditional LIS no longer cuts it in today’s clinical testing lab environment. Molecular labs need a system that can connect across all corners of the diagnostic landscape, and that includes instrumentation, lab management analytics, robust decision support, effective quality controls, and third-party interoperability with EHRs, decision population health tools, and other systems. A LIS that doesn’t have this sort of flexibility is unlikely to expand a lab’s ability to network in the healthcare community or enhance its diagnostic offerings as new options develop.
“When molecular testing laboratories shop for information systems, they should carefully consider whether or not they can provide reliable interoperability and interface with an ever-changing array of healthcare partners and other mission-critical technologies,” added Avunjian. “It’s not only about what systems can do today, but it’s also about how future-ready they are. LigoLab was built for today and tomorrow.”
The LigoLab LIS & RCM Laboratory Operating Platform is a powerful and all-inclusive software solution that includes all the modules a modern molecular testing laboratory needs to conduct specialized diagnostic testing with maximum efficiency. This includes:
Unified Lab Management
The LigoLab platform brings every lab function together within a single, unified software infrastructure, ensuring end-to-end data integrity.
Specimen Management and Patient Safety
Error-free specimen management is vital for flawless laboratory operations. The LigoLab platform assigns a specimen-unique identifier the moment an order is placed, ensuring an error-free specimen workflow.
Quality Control and Quality Assurance
LigoLab’s Quality Control (QC) module and Quality Assurance (QA) compliance infrastructure provide a base for accurate testing, precise report distribution, and closely monitored operations. Ligolab supports various QC methodologies, such as Westgard Rules, biological variation methods, Lean Six Sigma, etc.
The QC module allows live monitoring of control data and alerts users to abnormal readings to prevent instrument malfunction and erroneous test release. The QA infrastructure monitors every step of the workflow and ensures reliable and coherent operations throughout the entire testing process.
Cost management is critically important for clinical laboratories due to increasingly regulated reimbursement policies that contribute to profit erosion. LigoLab’s real-time monitoring and reporting tools enable users to easily generate important performance analytic reports that provide the valuable insight needed to make informed business decisions.
LigoLab features an open architecture platform with a proprietary interface engine. The interface engine provides maximum interoperability, enabling the LigoLab platform to seamlessly connect to a majority of analyzers, EHRs, and third-party plug-ins with ease. This includes LIS/RCM internal networking as well as connections to external bodies, such as billing services, the Tumor Registry, state reporting agencies, etc.
The interface engine supports all standard interchange protocols, including FHIR HL7, XML, X12, CSV, PDF, Flat File, ASTM, and Restful API.
Optimize Workflows and Scale Your Business
LigoLab is constantly evolving, with new features and enhancements added to the platform every day. Through domain expertise, best practices, and customer feedback analysis, the company boosts its lab partners by giving them a platform that automates workflows, increases productivity, and positions them to scale their businesses quickly.
Regulatory Compliance Made Easy
Compliance without a flexible software platform is quite challenging and labor-intensive. LigoLab offers a variety of specialized tools that reduce audit risk and revenue loss. Users can effectively operate within the guidelines of CAP, CLIA, HIPAA, and other regulatory agencies to mitigate compliance concerns and avoid penalties.
Support for Consumerism
With LigoLab, medical laboratories can directly connect with patients while expanding laboratory services. The TestDirectly Direct-to-Consumer patient engagement portal makes this possible by replacing paper forms and manual processes with a simplified electronic workflow that starts with patient self-registration and eliminates the potential for human errors, order entry bottlenecks, reporting delays, and patient and provider frustration.
The cloud-based portal is the key that unlocks laboratory testing capacity and improves turnaround times, all while enhancing the patient experience.
TestDirectly supports all forms of specimen collection (at-home, drive-through, walk-up, concierge, etc.) and all forms of patient and employer/organizational testing, including school surveillance/pooled testing.