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laboratory information system

Laboratory Information Systems: The heart of healthcare decisions

Given the extreme competitive environment, lab owners and pathologists are losing sleep over multiple challenges with increasing data volumes haunting them every day. Primary areas of concern include faster processing of sample, unpredictability of number of samples to be processed on a daily basis for planning resources and the need to grow and scale their business to multiple cities and centres, fast. The possibility of human errors is compounding the problem, resulting in inaccurate information and potentially causing serious repercussions to the patients. In order to overcome these problems, what we need is a system that takes away the guesswork, avoids wastage, integrates the lab devices to remove human error from the equation and helps in bettering the healthcare services.

What is Laboratory Information System?

A Laboratory Information System (LIS) is a computer based information system that manages, records and stores data in laboratories across multiple disciplines which include chemistry, microbiology and haematology.

laboratory information systems workflow

LIS traditionally has been the most adept way of managing the information system in laboratories for coordinating varieties of medical testing’s effectively. Collection of data is fully automated through LIS and the analyses is accomplished through software information network. LIS is designated to manage all the laboratory activities and its major functions.

What does the LIS bring to the table?

During the past 40 years, LIS has evolved from a simple system which is designed to generate accurate reports to a much more complex system capable of tracking the whole laboratory workflow throughout all phases of testing process. Advancements in information technology have facilitated many major improvements in laboratory data management. Interoperability is enabling healthcare facilities to links LIS with electronic healthcare records (EHR), hospital information systems (HIS), reference laboratories and pharmacy databases to make improvements in our healthcare system.

laboratory information system-infograph

How it is helpful?

Laboratory testing plays a vital role in providing information that helps in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of disease, as well as indicator for individual and population health. The use of Laboratory Information’s systems can be illustrated by its successful implementation in carrying out polymer chain reaction (PCR) test to monitor the mother-to-child transmission rate in South Africa. To eliminate the mother-child transmission of HIV, the number of HIV polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests performed were a mere 3370 in the year 2003. As a result of integration of laboratories with LIS under the prevention of mother to child transmission programme (PMTCT), PCR tests has increased 100-fold to 330526 in 2012. The rapid rise in the total number of PCR tests reflect a commensurate increase in laboratory capacity. Early infant diagnosis coverage has increased dramatically from 10% in 2006 to 73% in 2012. The number of infants aged less than 2 months tested in 2006 were 23823, has increased 8-fold to 194908 by 2012. This increase in effienciency of the labs is made possible with the integration of LIS with the laboratories. As a result, vertical transmission rate had fallen to 2.4% with the successful implementation of PMTCT programme.

early infant diagnosis coverage
Early Infant diagnosis coverage: estimated number of HIV-infants born in South Africa who access PCR testing < 2 months of age.

Laboratory data: the heart of healthcare decisions.

LIS tools also help in using the clinical data to make an educated forecast to know the chance of a medical condition occurring in the given patient. Combining the lab data and with electronic health records (EHR), a risk score which can proactively predict the healthcare needs can be given to the patients. From this data collaboration, the healthcare team can make decisions and recommend appropriate chronic care and preventive interventions. By placing a patient into a risk category, personalized care plan can be provided to each patient with the goal of achieving best health by the patient, preventing chronic diseases, stabilizing chronic conditions and preventing acceleration into high risk category that would lead to increased cost. The figure below is an example of LeHigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania utilising lab data in addition with other patient data to provide predictive risk scores for the patients.

lehigh valley health network’s risk score
LeHigh Valley Health Network’s Risk score
Low risk = 0-2 points; Moderate risk = 3-5 points; High risk = 6-8 points

Role of the advanced LIS: analytics and efficiency.

Using the LIS and the data within, labs can be made more supportive and can make positive impact at the point of order for diagnostics testing. This can ensure the most appropriate and cost-effective tests are selected. Pathologists and Laboratorians can be instrumental in tracking and monitoring the test utilization patterns and be involved in the committees to implement best ordering guidelines and evidence based testing algorithms that lead to optimum patient outcomes.

Despite the scale of importance, U.S laboratory spending accounts for a mere 2.3% of healthcare expenditure and 2% of Medicare costs. Lack of awareness and leaving a few regions unexploited are effecting the growth of laboratory information systems market. As healthcare makes major shift as a result of recent legislation, appropriate usage of laboratory testing is even more essential for achieving safe, efficient and effective care for patients. Considering above factors and advantages, Effective implementation of a mature, capable LIS is essential for this effect. Analysts at Market Data Research had prepared a comprehensive research report detailing the opportunities for laboratory information system market with an exhaustive segmentation complete with a list of drivers and restraints, comprehensive strategic analyses, company profiles and many more. You can get a free research sample here. Visit our site and subscribe to our newsletters for more revealing insights of healthcare industry to make you decisions well researched and more informed.

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