What is the Best LIS for your Organization?

The U.S. Healthcare market and laboratory testing markets are going through tremendous change and will continue to over the next five to ten years. How can you laboratory stay ahead of these changes and remain flexible? Don’t throw out that LIS just yet for an integrated laboartory module.

Let’s take a step back in time. It’s 1990 and you have a hunch you should start investigating a replacement to your LIS system. You’ve been reading about client/server technology, networks, Windows 3.0, and GUI’s. Interface engine technology for healthcare is still baking in a petri dish for a few more years.

You think about the reliability and sophistication of your current system – with the excetion of a few modem and point-to-point interface glitches throughout the day, specimens are being received, tests are being processed w/many instruments interfaced to the LIS, reports (both interim and cumes) are being printed on green bar and distributed up to the floors (yes up since most data processing shops where in the basement), or couriered to the client, and even sent via FAX. Pretty neat stuff!

Access to the LIS was extend beyond the lab to a few key areas via terminal servers. Heck, you can even have STAT results print remotely to a unit via terminal server technology. Registrations automatically (for the most part) appeared in the LIS through a point-to-point, serial, psedo-ADT feed from the HIS (HL7 was just getting traction by vendors). Real coool stuff!

Integrating lab data into the clinical record was a breeze – finals where filed in an organized, color-coded paper chart accessible through the medical records department. Why would I need to replace my LIS or for that matter an of my systems?

Times have changed that’s for sure. Health System CIO’s have tremendous responsibility these days to meet not only the operational and financial IT needs, but the clinical IT needs as well – and have the clinical integrate transparently with the operational/financial.

Since Y2K the U.S. Healthcare market has heard the mantra that “the EMR/EHR (back then computer-based patient record or CBPR) is 5-years away”? Well, those 5-years have come and gone several times and are now at everyones front door-step, with the lights fully on.

Back in the 1990’s “Best-of-Breed” was the special of the day derived from individual menu items. There was no truly integrated system for healthcare. That all changed with Meditech, CPSi, Dairlyland and the likes. The tier-1 players moved towards an integarted platform through heavy acquistion and back-end interfacing.

By Kevin Hunter