What’s the “buzz” in software?

July 24, 2018

The Lean approach

Increased regulations and reimbursement cuts for Anatomic Pathology Services have forced AP labs to scrutinize options in reducing their operating costs. Lean Process Improvement is becoming a popular methodology, or a structured approach, that is used to obtain cost-reduction goals. It is a belief held by everyone in the organization that, however efficient the lab is operating, there is always opportunity to improve operational efficiency. It is a way of life, a philosophical approach, and a continual commitment by all to eliminate waste in a way that improves the financial health of the lab, streamlines internal processes, and improves efficiency, while enhancing patient care.

Critical to the Lean approach is the ability to retrieve, analyze, and report on data relevant to the processes within the lab. Software programs, referred to as “Business Intelligence Tools” (BI Tools), are commercially available to aid in meeting this real-time need for information. Ideally, the BI Tool and the Lean Process Improvement methodology should be tightly integrated into, or part of, the Anatomic Pathology LIS, combining streamlined workflow, business intelligence, and the commitment of the lab to continuous process improvement and financial efficiency.

— Rick Callahan
VP Sales and Marketing

Scalable IT solutions

Laboratorians, when evaluating new instrumentation, often focus on physical attributes and analytical capabilities such as higher throughputs, faster TATs, and/or analyte specificity. Analyzer software was there to provide the basic information around system operation, calibration, and patient test result access. Though that is still true today, users have come to expect much more from their analyzer’s software and user interface. They expect that the analyzer software will help them to actively manage instrument performance and laboratory data.

Software of the future should help the laboratory by creating a product offering that utilizes the same look and feel so that user familiarization is shorter. Software should provide information to users beyond just a patient’s results to include the process it took to get the results. Software should provide users with access to 24×7 support if their processing is impeded. The software package should have state-of-the-art security to prevent possible disruptions in the service it supports. The software package should offer flexibility to integrate not just into the laboratory’s workflow, but also into its data systems.

An ecosystem of digital offerings can deliver actionable data and reports to address a variety of operational and financial challenges facing laboratories. Scalable IT solutions help lab managers identify and address workflow gaps and optimize their operations for increased savings.

— Andy Olen
Senior Vice President,
Laboratory Diagnostics
Siemens Healthineers

Cloud-based data management solutions

The future of the clinical lab lies with integrated, cloud-based laboratory information management systems (LIMS), designed to respond to an increasingly complex scientific environment. Today, labs are challenged with collecting, storing, and analyzing unprecedented volumes of data, while also complying with stringent regulatory requirements. There is a real need for digital solutions, such as LIMS, that can be seamlessly integrated with analytical instrumentation, and simultaneously manage data from multiple sources, which can be securely shared with remote collaborators.

Modern cloud-based LIMS feature applications that map the entire clinical workflow, from study design to data management and reporting, and they can be configured to meet a lab’s changing needs. Providing a flexible, scalable, and secure way of collecting, storing, analyzing, sharing, and auditing data, these powerful digital solutions allow clinical labortory scientists to perform complex tasks with ease.

For example, such systems enable users to track sample inventories and automate the collection of data for high-throughput analysis, in real-time, from any device. Designed to evolve with the challenges of the modern clinical lab, cloud-based LIMS free clinical laboratory scientists to focus on what they do best—collecting and interpreting the data that’s essential for improving patient health.

— Nicole Rose
Genomics Application Manager, Platform for Science
Thermo Fisher Scientific