What To Do When Your Laboratory Information System Is Sunsetting

What To Do When Your Laboratory Information System Is Sunsetting

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Back in December 2021, Oracle, which at the time was best known for its cloud applications and cloud platform services, announced that it had entered the health information software technology space with the $28 billion acquisition of Cerner Corporation

Oracle closed the deal to gain valuable access to a huge amount of patient and healthcare data stored within the Cerner Millennium laboratory information system (LIS) and CoPathPlus, Cerner’s anatomic pathology LIS

Now just over two years on, the reality of this announcement has laboratory directors and pathologists on edge thanks to the planned sunsetting of CoPathPlus, in 2026.

Here’s how the announcement was covered in the January 31, 2022 issue of The Dark Report (please note that only subscribers to The Dark Report will have access to this article link).

LIS Market Will Change After Oracle And Clinisys Acquisitions

CoPathPlus has been widely used by pathology groups since the laboratory information system software launched in 1982, but it’s not cloud-compatible and its planned sunsetting is starting to impact the immediate future of hundreds of AP labs.

Editor’s Note: Intellipath, a laboratory information management software used by pathology labs, is also sunsetting with that action planned for 2025. Additionally, CliniSys Apollo, a laboratory information management system, has a planned sunsetting in 2026.

This is An Opportunity to Unlock Lab Potential 

LigoLab CEO Suren Avunjian, himself a former lab chief technology officer, understands fully what lab leaders across the country are feeling with the imminent demise of an LIS system that’s been around for over 40 years. 

“For CoPath users, it’s admittedly a scary thing to think about not having support and being left on your own,” he said. 

No one likes forced change, but according to Avunjian, this change will push hundreds of labs to get a much-needed digital transformation.

“This is a wake-up call for many labs, but it’s also an opportunity because a modern LIS system can maximize lab automation and unlocking a lab's potential,” he said.

The Time to Act is Now

In the realm of laboratory information system implementations, the time to act is now for labs to smoothly move from CoPathPlus to a new LIS software solution. 

Here’s a typical timeline that shows how much time and effort a lab will need to comfortably make the right choice and partner with the LIS company that best aligns with its goals.

  • Six months of LIS system research (demos, testimonials, referrals, etc.) 
  • Three months (or more) to narrow down the decision to two LIS software vendors and negotiate and finalize a licensing agreement
  • Six to eight months to implement the LIS system and train the staff

*For large AP lab organizations, adjust the timeline by adding 30-to-40 percent more time to the projection. 

Laboratory Information Systems

The End of an Era

The sunsetting of Cerner’s AP/LIS system marks the end of one era and the start of another. That’s because hundreds of labs will soon be opening their doors to laboratory information system companies that have the advanced features and functionality, and that offer the LIS software reliability needed to take the place of CoPathPlus. 

“At LigoLab, we are excited to offer a forward-thinking LIS software solution that addresses the immediate needs of transitioning pathology groups and sets a new standard for excellence in laboratory information system technology,”  said Avunjian. 

For many, this LIS sunsetting is a disturbing development, so Avunjian sees it as his job to calm nerves and reassure lab leaders that an even more advanced alternative is available to them.

“LigoLab has all the workflow feature sets that CoPathPlus offers, plus an order of magnitude beyond that,” he said. 

Also noteworthy is the fact that the CoPath product is the lab information system that LigoLab has replaced the most since launching its own LIS pathology solution in 2006. 

“We have a full understanding of the advantages and constraints that come with CoPathPlus, and we’ve helped many medium-to-large pathology groups successfully migrate from that system to LigoLab Informatics Platform,” he said. 

The Pathologists’ Experience

What about the pathologists who are used to working with CoPathPlus? What will they experience with the LigoLab platform?

“First off, their ease of use is going to be much better and they're going to have much more functionality at their fingertips because LigoLab is a much more modern LIS system,” said Avunjian, who used LigoLab’s speech-to-text feature as an example of how pathologists will be able to control their entire experience with voice if they so choose.

“Our state-of-the-art LIS system is designed with the future of healthcare in mind, and we’re confident that the pathologists will enjoy an intuitive user experience and all the features and versatility that the platform provides,” said Avunjian. “They’ll also appreciate a newfound ability to sign out cases much faster, with fewer clicks than before thanks to all the available functionality.”

Learn More: How Advanced LIS Software Helps Pathologists Sign-Out Cases Faster

How LigoLab Stands Apart From Other Laboratory Information System Companies

A sunsetting lab information system can be a scary proposition, but if lab leadership takes a step back, it can also be viewed as a welcome opportunity to revitalize the lab’s environment and put it on a path toward modernization and profitability. 

As lab leadership begins to research and starts engaging with LIS software vendors, here are three important areas to concentrate on and evaluate.

Innovative features: Does the LIS system integrate the latest technological advancements to streamline workflows, improve diagnostic accuracy, and enhance patient outcomes? Does it support AI-driven analytics, digital pathology solutions, and cloud-based accessibility

Customized solutions: Recognizing that every pathology group has unique needs, does the LIS system offer customizable solutions that can be tailored to fit the specific requirements of a laboratory? Does the LIS system align with operational workflow and enhance overall efficiency?

Customer service and support: Does the LIS company provide exceptional customer support? From the initial setup and beyond, does the support team provide guidance, answer questions, and resolve any issues that may arise promptly? 

As noted earlier, Avunjian understands the challenges that labs operating with CoPathPlus are now facing and that decisions need to be made. 

“Our team is ready to assist these labs every step of the way, and if they choose LigoLab Informatics Platform as their new anatomic pathology LIS, we’ll welcome them to the family of growing laboratory partners by ensuring that their transition is smooth and successful,” he said. 

For those lab leaders who have yet to familiarize themselves with LigoLab and its modern anatomic pathology software solution, here’s a brief introduction that covers data migration, interface capabilities, and other key details about the platform. 

Laboratory Information System Companies

LigoLab’s Approach to Data Migration

With a sunsetting LIS and an imminent move to a new LIS system on the horizon, a plan for data migration quickly becomes a top priority among the lab’s hierarchy. Fortunately, this is an area where LigoLab excels. 

“Transitioning to a new LIS system can be daunting, especially when it involves the transfer of sensitive patient data and reports. Our experienced engineers specialize in secure data migration, ensuring that historical data is transferred accurately and efficiently to our LIS system with minimal disruption to a lab’s operations,” said Avunjian. 

For LigoLab, data migration is a three-step process that ensures all generated patient reports and physician records are imported from the old LIS system into the LigoLab platform.

Step 1: In the early stage of implementation, the first import of data takes place. This is typically 10-to-30 years of data generated in the previous system. Once finished, a report that identifies areas in need of clean-up (like the elimination of duplicate or corrupt records) is shared with the lab. 

Step 2: A second import takes place as the LIS system is going live to catch and transfer all data accumulated since the first import. 

Step 3: A third and final import takes place three to four months after going live to identify and transfer any remaining straggler cases. After this third import, the lab is free to completely switch off its legacy LIS system because all relevant data has been transferred into the LigoLab platform.  

“The lab won’t have to keep CoPathPlus up and running long after going live with LigoLab,” said Avunjian. “When the process is finished, it will be like the legacy data always existed in our platform, and the customer service team and pathologists will have access to these records just like any other report generated out of LigoLab.”

Avunjian also proudly pointed out that in two decades of working with independent clinical labs and pathology groups, LigoLab has never experienced an unsuccessful implementation or a rollback to a legacy LIS system due to an unsuccessful go-live.

LigoLab's Interface Engine Compatibility

LigoLab's state-of-the-art lab information system platform is also reassuringly designed to easily connect with existing interface engines like Mirth, Corepoint, Iguana, OpenLink, OpenEngine Lifepoint, ELKAY, Cloverleaf, and many more. This capability is crucial for laboratories looking to migrate to a more modern, feature-rich LIS system without disrupting the current interoperability between their systems and the broader healthcare ecosystem. By leveraging LigoLab's compatibility with these widely used interface engines, laboratories can:

  • Maintain connections with Electronic Health Records (EHR) and hospital systems, thus ensuring that patient data continues to flow seamlessly across different healthcare platforms without needing reconfiguration.
  • Utilize current interfaces to minimize the learning curve and implementation timeline. Laboratories can leverage their existing setup to communicate with LigoLab's platform, reducing the time and resources required for the transition.

Building and Rebuilding Interfaces

LigoLab understands that each laboratory's needs are unique, and sometimes existing interfaces may need to be optimized or completely redesigned to meet the specific requirements of the new LIS system environment. In response to this, LigoLab offers two pivotal services:

  • Re-building existing interfaces: For laboratories with existing interfaces that require updates or modifications, LigoLab's team of experienced engineers can rebuild these connections to ensure optimal performance, stability, and compatibility with the new medical LIS platform.
  • Developing new interfaces: For new functionalities or connections that were not previously established, LigoLab can design and implement new interfaces. This service allows laboratories to expand their capabilities and integrate new tools or laboratory software systems into their lab workflow, enhancing efficiency and expanding their ability to serve clients.

Expanding Connectivity with LigoLab's Cloud Network

In an era where cloud-based solutions are becoming increasingly crucial for efficient healthcare data management, LigoLab further enhances its service offerings through a comprehensive cloud network of pre-integrated interfaces. This network connects laboratories to a wide array of cloud-based EHR systems, including Athenahealth, Practice Fusion, DrChrono, and ModMed, among others. By tapping into this extensive network, laboratories instantly broaden their connectivity horizons, facilitating seamless data exchange across a diverse healthcare ecosystem.

This integration capability is not just about connectivity; it represents significant time and cost savings for laboratories. Once connected to LigoLab's cloud network, laboratories can swiftly bring additional clients online, typically in less than a week, without incurring additional fees for these connections. This approach not only accelerates the onboarding process for new clients but also eliminates the financial burden often associated with establishing new interfaces. Consequently, laboratories can focus on their core mission of delivering top-quality diagnostic services, while LigoLab handles the complexities of data connectivity and integration.

A laboratory assistant looks through a microscope

Empowering Laboratories with DIY Interface Building

In addition to providing professional services for interface development and optimization, LigoLab also empowers laboratories to take control of their interface architecture through its proprietary interface engine. This approach is designed for laboratories that prefer a hands-on approach to their LIS system integration:

  • LigoLab's interface engine: Laboratories can use LigoLab's interface engine to create, modify, and manage their interfaces in-house. This powerful tool provides a flexible and user-friendly environment for technical teams to develop bespoke solutions that meet their precise requirements.
  • Enhanced autonomy and flexibility: By enabling laboratories to build and manage their interfaces, LigoLab fosters a culture of innovation and self-sufficiency. Laboratories can quickly adapt to changes in their operational needs or technological advancements without relying on external lab vendors for every modification or new integration.

As the industry moves forward, LigoLab's comprehensive approach to interface integration and development positions it as a leader in supporting laboratories through technological transitions and beyond.

Learn More: LigoLab Delivers the LIS System Interoperability Needed to Transform Medical Laboratories into Thriving Businesses

Security and Compliance

In the digital age, the security of patient data and compliance with regulatory standards are paramount for any laboratory information system. LigoLab recognizes this critical need and has built its platform with robust security measures and compliance protocols to protect sensitive patient and laboratory information. The LIS system adheres to HIPAA regulations, ensuring that all data is encrypted both in transit and at rest, and it provides a framework for data privacy and security that meets the highest standards. 

Training and Support

Understanding the importance of a smooth transition and effective use of its platform, LigoLab offers comprehensive training and ongoing support tailored to each laboratory's specific needs. The training programs are designed to equip lab staff with the knowledge and skills needed to maximize the benefits of LigoLab's LIS system. From initial setup to advanced functionalities, the LIS company ensures a seamless learning experience through webinars, interactive sessions, and on-demand resources. Post-implementation, a dedicated support team can address any queries or issues, ensuring a lab’s operations run smoothly and efficiently. LigoLab’s commitment to a lab’s success is reflected in its responsive, unlimited, and proactive customer support.

The laboratory assistant conducts laboratory tests

LIS System Pricing That Just Makes Sense

CoPathPlus was not only a good LIS system in its day, but it was also very expensive, requiring a six-to-seven-figure capital upfront to license the software. There’s also a good chance that contemporary LIS system alternatives will also require this sort of upfront investment for a lab information system partnership, but that’s not the case with LigoLab, which instead doesn’t require a large upfront fee for partnership and offers four different pricing tiers and a subsidized implementation and training fee.

The tiers are designed to deliver maximum value to labs of all sizes and complexities while also serving as a laboratory’s catalyst for modernization and faster scalability. 

“Our lab partners appreciate our pricing model and our shared-success philosophy,” said Avunjian. “We bet on the customer and ourselves as an LIS company and subsidize much of the implementation cost. We align with laboratories for a long-term partnership to make sure they are successful because if they’re not, we lose money ourselves.”

Learn More: LigoLab Informatics Platform: Uniquely Designed to Deliver Maximum Value

Final Thoughts 

LigoLab Informatics Platform sets a new standard in the laboratory information system arena, delivering unmatched flexibility, scalability, and support. It stands out as the most comprehensive LIS software solution commercially available today, designed to cater not just to the basic needs of laboratories but also to their evolving demands as they expand and adapt to the changing healthcare landscape. 

Unlike simpler laboratory information systems that labs might quickly outgrow, LigoLab is built for longevity, ensuring that laboratories can rely on a single LIS system that grows with them, eliminating the need for frequent and disruptive system changes.

The LigoLab approach to pricing further differentiates this LIS company from the competition, offering a clear and straightforward pricing model that eschews the traditional, substantial upfront costs. 

For more information about LigoLab and how it can help pathology groups transition away from CoPathPlus, please contact a LIS Product Specialist

Michael Kalinowski
Michael Handles Marketing and Communications for LigoLab

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