Lab information systems are yet another part of the growing data network. In this information age, there is certainly a lot of data to take in, process, organize and store. Because so much of this data and information is highly private, there’s a lot more to just housing and processing it. There is also the matter of keeping that data safe and secure, making it accessible to those who need it in a timely fashion and analyzing it efficiently.
So what is LIS?
A laboratory information system (LIS) is simply a software solution for healthcare management. It specifically manages, processes and stores patient data for lab processes and tests. Labs, physicians and other healthcare providers use lab information systems to coordinate a wide array of both inpatient and outpatient medical tests. Healthcare providers use this software to access lab results like hematology and immunology results for their patients. It is also used to update a patient’s clinical details within electronic health records. Major institutions like the CDC and Quest Diagnostics use LIS to store pathology information, microbiology cultures and so much more. It’s the way healthcare systems and organizations improve workflows, process and store results, and monitor trends for improved analytics.
How do they work?
Larger laboratories have a lot of information to coordinate. Everytime a physician orders lab tests, a lab has to manage the incoming requests and return the results to the requesting healthcare provider. When patients make an appointment to have their lab work done, the lab also has to manage that information. Laboratory information systems work by connecting the healthcare provider, patient, lab and electronic health records. It manages the points of connection and each component’s data.
Why is a LIS necessary?
With so many moving parts, any good laboratory needs software to manage its data and data collection processes. The peace of mind that comes with having automated software to improve efficiency, streamline workflows and reducing errors should not be undervalued. The ability to ensure consistency, automate billing and provide up to date accurate results, creates a standard that both patients and providers will value and respect. Quality control is paramount in lab testing. Poor quality lab testing leads to a lot of avoidable issues, poor customer experience, and overall decreased profits. Having a system in place that takes care of the bulk of this work is a huge boost to a lab’s bottom line.
Whether a lab is operating within the confines of clinical research or patient care, a laboratory information system or laboratory information management system is a must. There have been a lot of advances in lab instrumentation and lab testing over the last decade or two. This is why it’s so important to have the technology to keep up with these advancements. Public health needs have also expanded quite a bit in the last few decades. With so many health concerns in the public sphere, there’s definitely more reason than ever to implement current and scalable lab information systems.