If you are about to embark on finding an Anatomic Laboratory Services (AP) LIS supplier, which criteria should you consider when choosing a vendor? Romaric Croes, pathologist and founder of LIS DaVinci and clinical director at MIPS, offers some recommendations.
- Digital workflow and access anywhere
This provides the ability to access your system from anywhere around the globe across different time zones, being able to review digital images and write a report based on the analysis of these images. Having digital workflow capabilities can significantly reduce turnaround times on pathology workload if, for instance, a specialist is located elsewhere globally from the laboratory. This creates an international 24-hour work routine.
- Interoperability and trans-laboratory collaborations
The ability to share slides and communicate within a specialist or group of pathologists, in real-time, greatly reduces turnaround times. This needs a central laboratory information management system (LIS) that can cope with sharing the data as part of an inter-laboratory network of IT systems.
Currently, there is a shortage of pathologists, which is compounded by the fact that not every pathologist specialises in every tissue. Thus, we need specialists to easily see the slides relevant to them. Giving them access to digital collaboration platforms ensures that the best and most appropriate pathologists are looking at the specimen.
We are beginning to see an increasing requirement in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Belgium to be able to register that a sample has been collected in the LIS from a third party order communication systems, hospital information systems, and even other LIS.
A LIS solution in which the key order information arrives without having people interact with it or have to investigate where the sample was taken, when, and who took it is now seen as a vital element. You also need a LIS that sends out the results to all the pertinent people, not just the requesting clinicians but also regulatory bodies and bodies such as cancer services.
Interoperability is key in an automated workflow, your LIS needs to support you in this. A system that aligns with international standards like IHE and HL7 will enable you to achieve this goal
- Integrated and standardised reporting within the AP LIS
Another area of focus is ensuring there is the ability for the production of an integrated and standardised report, collating results from multiple different areas in a format in which relevant data can be retrieved easily.
Another hugely valuable function of a LIS for a pathologist is being able to see all pertinent information about a patient in one place without wasting time searching in multiple different systems looking for a patient’s treatment history or results.
When reporting on a patient you want to see if the patient has had any other treatment or ongoing analyses, and if there are any results from other disciplines outside pathology, such as radiology, clinical and molecular biology. The results of molecular and genetics tests are becoming increasingly valuable within the reporting of an AP case.
- Scalable traceability and support of the Quality Management
This is the ability to track and trace any action and movement of specimens within your LIS. Quite often, third-party track & trace systems are being used to cover this basic need but they are often too limited, do not track through the process, and can bring forward additional challenges for full integration and interoperability.
An AP LIS needs to track and trace any creation or change of a record throughout the whole workflow, any print and communication action, and any movement or shipment of specimens and its aliquots (such as all recipients, blocks, slides and accompanying papers) from and to your lab and – if feasible – between different labs. Therefore, you need a LIS that can scale up (and scale down) as much as you want it to and has the flexibility to exchange information within large networks with other disciplines (delivering required levels of interoperability). All this information gathered in the LIS is of great added value in the quality management system.
- Digital workflow and maximum of automation
Ideally, you want maximum automation of workflows within your laboratory connecting to a multitude of instruments, such as processors, stainers and printers, all connected to your LIS as the backbone of your process management. Additionally, the instruments of molecular biopathology equipped with a data or connection interface should be connected (in a bidirectional way) to your AP LIS.
- Dynamic strategy and future roadmap
Needless to say, we’re witnessing a revolution in Anatomic Laboratory Services in the last decennium and this is just the beginning… If you want to “survive”, your service will need to adjust, to be fit. Change will be the only constant and therefore you need a modern, evolving LIS with a solid future-oriented roadmap. In summary, look for an AP LIS vendor with a wide and dynamic strategic eye on the future!
If you are interested in learning more about selecting an Anatomical Laboratory Services LIS, you can contact our team on +32 (0)9 220 23 21 for an informal discussion.