CONSOLIDATION IN THE CLINICAL LABORATORY INFORMATICS INDUSTRY took another step forward with the announcement that CliniSys (the parent of Sunquest Information Systems) was acquiring Nashville-based ApolloLIMS.
This move may also further muddy the line between classic laboratory information systems (LIS) and traditional laboratory information management systems (LIMS). The result may be a stronger LIMS market, a fact which lab managers and pathologists will want to consider whenever they evaluate their information systems.
In an April 12 press release, CliniSys said that the ApolloLIMS solution supports testing activities in clinical, public health, toxicology, and molecular diagnostics settings.
LIS Versus LIMS
An LIS is a patient-centric system that usually complies with HIPAA and generally is used within clinical diagnostic laboratories, such as those in hospitals. It typically needs to integrate with electronic health record systems, billing software, and physician ordering platforms.
An LIMS, however, manages workflows in batch-specific environments, often in non-clinical labs, such as for food testing. By design, an LIMS is self-sustaining without add-on integrations.
An interesting twist is that commercial diagnostic labs—because of their large specimen batching—tend to use an LIMS. Also, smaller clinical labs, including startups, may gravitate to an LIMS because of its more independent functionality.
In fact, a quick review of ApolloLIMS’ case studies on its website reveals several stories about labs, including COVID-19 diagnostics sites, ramping up within weeks by taking advantage of the flexibility of an LIMS.
In January, CliniSys, a U.K.-based division of Roper Technologies, reported that it had acquired Horizon Lab Systems in Raleigh, N.C. CliniSys also announced at the time that it planned to combine the Horizon LIS with the LIS of its Sunquest Information Systems division, located in Tucson, Ariz.
Horizon develops lab tests outside of healthcare in areas such as environmental management and agriculture. The ApolloLIMS deal fits nicely with Horizon’s business line.
“The announcement confirms a significant step toward fulfilling our vision to enable a new wave of digital diagnostics and community laboratories, spanning environmental, water quality, public health, toxicology and agriculture lab testing markets,” CliniSys noted in a statement.
ApolloLIMS’ employees will stay with CliniSys. “Not only will [ApolloLIMS employees] help expand our knowledge of diagnostics within and beyond the clinical laboratory, but they share our deep belief that the future of digital diagnostics lies in the cloud,” said Michael Simpson, CEO at CliniSys, in a press release about the acquisition of ApolloLIMS.
CliniSys said that over time it will integrate the ApolloLIMS platform into its software suite.