The diverse variety of scientific laboratories spread around the world plays a crucial role in assisting advancements in healthcare, research, nutrition, and a host of other fields as well. A laboratory serves as the place for the identification of the source of any health-related issue as well as its solution. Over the years, advancements in technology have modernized laboratory procedures and enabled these facilities to streamline operational tasks. Laboratory Information System, or LIS, is a prime example of how contemporary labs handle their workload smoothly.
Many people confuse LIS with Laboratory Information Management Systems or LIMS. While both these tools facilitate laboratory workflows in a certain manner, their functions differ extensively. A LIS is installed and used exclusively at pathological and clinical labs, while an LIMS was originally developed for commercial, environmental, and other related research. The relevance and use of both these software can vary, especially considering that nowadays, research is not limited to healthcare alone.
- 1 Difference between LIS and LIMS
Difference between LIS and LIMS
Before discussing how to choose the best LIS for your facility, it is important to discuss the differences between LIS and LIMS in more detail. This is because, many times, people end up using these terms interchangeably. LIS and LIMS are two separate systems with varying functionality and scope of use. For starters, as pointed out earlier, LIS, like the laboratory software from NovoPath, is a dedicated tool for the healthcare industry. They are utilized to manage clinical and diagnostic testing in various hospitals and other facilities.
LIS typically performs tasks like quality control, result reporting, specimen tracking, test ordering, billing support, data tracking, and patient management, to name a few. LIMS, on the other hand, is generally a tool for non-clinical testing purposes. With use in chemical, energy, food, pharmaceutical, environmental sustainability, and a variety of other commercial fields, LIMS can perform audit trail management, performance assessment, SOP enforcement, CRM, sales invoicing, inventory management, instrument calibration, and numerous other tasks, as and when needed.
Now that the difference between these two systems is clear, let’s take a look at how healthcare facilities can select the right LIS for their operations:
1. Find the system that is best suited to the needs of your lad
LIS can perform a diverse range of functions depending on which one you choose. From audit of system use to data mining, from patient management to support for genetic and molecular testing, these systems can facilitate laboratory procedures to a great extent. However, the extent to which your particular lab needs the LIS can vary based on numerous factors like the size and daily footfall at your facility. When finding the system that best suits your needs, some of the things to bear in mind include speed and depth of required reporting, patient data intake that occurs on a daily basis, and whether or not visuals are needed in every report. Your system of choice needs to adequately address these aspects for your laboratory.
2. Cross-department connectivity is essential
Modern healthcare facilities need prompt and efficient communication between various departments for maximum productivity. In order to achieve this, their IT systems need to be integrated for streamlined execution of tasks on a day-to-day basis. In some cases, hospitals, clinics, and laboratories still use separate systems in various departments, which makes coordination extremely challenging and cumbersome. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that your LIS of choice doesn’t need a middleman. Not only should it allow seamless connection between various departments, but at the same time, it needs to integrate effortlessly with other systems in the lab. This makes work for various teams a breeze while improving the efficiency of the laboratory significantly.
3. Ensure the cost-effectiveness of the system
Any wise businessperson understands that sometimes the option with the lowest sticker price isn’t the most cost-effective. Make sure you choose a LIS with your lab’s future in mind rather than merely sorting it in terms of pricing from lowest to highest. Your lab staff will be able to complete tasks correctly without messing around with the assistance of an excellent, cost-effective LIS that is adaptable and simple to operate out of the box. A strong LIS will reduce patient wait times, produce results that are easy to understand, and provide your lab staff the assurance they need to accomplish their work on schedule and to the greatest of their capabilities.
4. The LIS needs to be user-friendly
Another important tip for choosing the best LIS is to ensure that you look for the most user-friendly option. As is clear from the discussion about the functions these systems perform, you must ensure your team has a tool they can learn and operate easily. A system that is hard to use will make it harder for people to learn and eventually work with it. Moreover, during rush hours, staff can find it challenging to work on the LIS in case it is not user-friendly. Also, during other tasks like reporting and data management, a complex LIS can present issues that frustrate your team and even translate into dissatisfied patients. User-friendliness is, therefore, a critical component to consider in an LIS.
5. Best to look for a system that expands over time
The beauty and challenge of the modern world is that it is evolving and transforming at a rapid pace. Developments continue to happen all over the globe, particularly in the field of healthcare and medicine. These changes impact the work in any laboratory that is associated with this industry. For your lab to stay at the top of its game, you’ll need a system backed by a team of developers continuously working on expanding its database and learning protocols. Unless the LIS is able to expand, diversify, learn, and evolve with the times, your lab will not be able to deliver the results that truly make an impact.
LIS is designed to streamline various basic and advanced tasks performed by clinical laboratories. From data collection, management, analytics, and reporting, these systems optimize resource allocation providing an efficient solution for any lab around the world. However, in order to ensure you find the right system for your lab, you must take a few things into account, like user-friendliness, cost-effectiveness, and support for the particular platform. These elements ensure that the LIS will be the best possible fit in your lab.