While there is widespread dissatisfaction among EHR users, it is less common to hear the same animosity toward an LIS. LISs are more mature, and the laboratory has been working with them for decades now. However, this does not mean you have to be stuck with an old, frustrating system that no longer meets your needs. If you are wondering if your current LIS will meet your future needs, here are five signs that may signal the need to look into replacing your LIS.
1. Your LIS Is Causing Staff Headaches
Laboratory professionals have to work closely with their LIS day after day. Ideally, we desire a glitch-free workday where everything works smoothly. While each day brings new challenges, and days where every aspect of the lab goes without a hitch may be rare, your LIS should not be a common cause of stress among your staff. When the general consensus among employees is unhappiness with the LIS, it may be time to reconsider your LIS. If your LIS requires awkward maneuverings, redundant entering of information, or a seemingly unnecessary number of clicks to perform a simple task, this may be a sign that you need a more robust, sophisticated system. If your lab staff wants to revert to paper in an attempt to improve workflow, you likely have a problem. When the “kludgy-ness” of your LIS causes your staff to create workarounds, it is time to consider a more efficient LIS.
2. Your LIS Vendor Is Stuck in the Dark Ages
Change is the new norm and healthcare is in the midst of constant transformation. To stay current, your laboratory must remain nimble and flexible, and so must your LIS. If your LIS vendor is stagnant and does not keep up with the rapid changes taking place in the healthcare system, it may be a struggle to stay current. Every year, there are CLIA updates, reimbursement model changes, new FDA guidelines, and more that you must keep up with, and you need your laboratory information system to readily support these changes. If your LIS vendor is not abreast of all that is going on, you may need to consider a new LIS partner. LIS vendors that fall behind will eventually become irrelevant and your laboratory will feel the repercussions.
3. System Updates Are a Major Upheaval
If a software upgrade is a major upheaval and the changes to the system are hard to understand, you may want to take a deeper look at LIS options. When a system is not user-friendly and intuitive, it makes it harder for staff to adapt to upgrades and changes and harder to train new employees. You deserve a system that makes your job easier, not more complicated.
4. Your Interface Needs Are Not Met
Is your LIS connected to everything you need it to connect to (e.g., EHR, reference labs, analyzers, POCT devices, etc.)? Or are there large gaps in your LIS’s ability to interface with other systems? With a goal of overall healthcare interoperability, including looping patients in as active participants, a system that is incapable of connecting to other healthcare information systems is a concern now and going forward.
5. Support Is Inadequate
Does your LIS vendor’s technical support team meet your needs or make you want to pull your hair out? Do you find yourself frustrated every time you contact your LIS vendor for a support question? Does your vendor try to blame interface problems on the other vendor? Do they nickel-and-dime you for “tiered” service calls? Having a well-trained, responsive technical support team can make a huge difference in how smoothly your laboratory runs. If the LIS is repeatedly down and your vendor is not addressing core problems, it may be time to consider replacing your LIS.
If your LIS causes undo frustration, continually hurts your pocketbook, or is out of date, consider looking at other options. There are intangible costs associated with having a subpar LIS, such as workflow inefficiencies, staff unhappiness and turnover, and overall wasted time. With a poor-fit LIS, you are missing out on important system functionality and workflow enhancement, and not performing at your laboratory’s top level. Consider the benefits that a best-fit LIS could bring to your laboratory.
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