Friday, October 17, 2014

The Demands On Laboratory Information Systems (LIS) Are Accelerating And Changing. A Useful Review.

This appeared a little while ago.

Lab I.T. Put to the Test

JUN 4, 2014 1:45pm ET
When it comes to laboratory information systems, lab executives says it's been a few steps forward, a few steps back.
Advances in testing devices have expanded life-saving potential for molecular testing, mass spectrometry and flow cytometry, among others, and orders are flowing like a river for labs, especially those at academic medical centers and large health systems that cater to diverse patient populations and clinical staffs
That progress, however, is tempered by the struggles for information systems to analyze and distribute results from more complex tests.
It's a similar story with regard to interoperability and results distribution. More and more large health systems are taking an enterprise approach to information systems by adopting full suites of technology from large HIT vendors. While that helps large systems streamline their data and reach more users, experts say the move can a mixed blessing for labs, which have to forgo best-of-breed lab information systems for systems that sacrifice lab-specific functionality for broader compatibility throughout the enterprise. Lab technologists and lab IT staff tend to get lost in the shuffle.
The laboratories at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center are in the midst of this upheaval, says Melissa Pessin, M.D., chair of the department of laboratory medicine. The test complexity and the volume of data they generate are exploding, she says. In addition, clinicians and other lab "customers," such as public health agencies, expect these results in ever-shorter timeframes.
"The push is on," Pessin says. "Everyone is asking us to do everything faster to ensure the clinical relevance of the results." On top of that, laboratories are now required to give patients or their designated representatives the right to receive copies of medical test results, which adds to the burden of getting test results out the door quickly even as new privacy safeguards have to be put in place
All these new pressures are being brought to bear on laboratory information systems, which are having some problems keeping up. At MSKCC, the more advanced the tests, the more challenging the task of capturing the data in the LIS, Pessin says. The cancer center's current laboratory information system can't perform the more complex calculations and analytics required to interpret a more advanced mass spectrometry or flow cytometry test, she says. To get the results into a coherent format, lab techs have to use another application to calculate the test results, then manually enter strings of data into the LIS.
"It really feels like we've taken a step back," Pessin says. "Laboratory information systems haven't changed much since I was a resident-they're designed for relatively discrete answers, and since many tests don't yield those now, it's harder to work around the LIS limitations."
There is lots more here:
For those who have not thought about what is happening in the LIS space in a little while this is a useful catch up!
Well worth a careful read.

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