Laboratory Information Systems

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A laboratory information system, or LIS, is a software program that provides all the basic functionality needed for a clinical laboratory, whether that laboratory is hospital-based or a standalone commercial laboratory facility. Various components of the LIS will handle patient check-in, order entry, results entry, physician and patient demographics, specimen processing, and have some level of reporting ability.

Legacy laboratory information systems are typically homegrown, that is, they were developed within the organization 20 or 30 years ago, or were purchased ”off the shelf.” Homegrown systems and legacy systems often have problems with connectivity, scalability and flexibility, especially as technology changes within the laboratory and healthcare industry. Off-the-shelf products often force laboratories to modify their workflow to adapt to the LIS, rather than the other way around. Also, numerous LIS vendors have gone out of business or shifted their focus to other areas in the last two decades. Often legacy LISes utilize multiple databases, which create a great deal of difficulty with database interfaces and data synchronization.

Newer LISes are increasingly able to offer what laboratories need: modular-based systems with customizable functionality, scalability and a high level of adaptable connectivity for both institutional electronic medical records (EMRs) and physician access. Laboratories also require a LIS to to interface with the laboratory’s instrumentation, which allows patient results to be directly entered into the database and then into the EMR; Web-based order entry/result inquiry; and workload balancing. The LIS often has non-clinical functionality such as workflow monitoring and billing services.

In addition, these systems need to be customizable, be able to effectively and easily interface with both the institution’s electronic health record, the laboratory’s automated equipment, and provide Web-based access for physicians.

The environment for health information technology, specifically LISes, requires adherence to a number of national and international standards including CLIA, CCHIT, ANSI, HL7, HITSP, and LOINC.

Memorial Hermann’s Health Info Exchange Helps Lab Outreach

CEO SUMMARY: In Houston, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System has put together a health information exchange (HIE) to serve the Houston market. By design, this HIE not only gives physicians immediate access to a wide variety of patient data, but also supports the type of workflow required for Memorial Hermann’s new accountable care organization to succeed.

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ELINCS Specifications Released in California

CEO SUMMARY: Clinical laboratories and pathology groups have a new tool to use for interfacing their LIS (laboratory information systems) with the electronic health record (EHR) systems of their office-based physician clients. It is ELINCS, an IT standard designed to support electronic lab test orders and lab test reporting. The California HealthCare Foundation sponsored the

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Doctors Use Mobile Apps To View Lab Results

CEO SUMMARY: By sending lab test results and other data from the hospital’s electronic health record system to physicians’ smartphones, Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, New Jersey, is empowering physicians to manage patient care more efficiently. Today, few hospitals send information directly from the electronic health record (EHR) system to a smartphone (meaning an

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Controlling Test Utilization By Physician Use of CPOE

CEO SUMMARY: Systems for computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and clinical decision support can contribute to better utilization of laboratory tests while achieving improvements in patient outcomes. At Decatur Memorial Hospital, use of CPOE helped physicians slash the volume of blood products used by one-third, even as the risk of adverse patient events declined by

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