Why an Anatomic Pathology LIS (APLIS) Is Important
Together, anatomic and clinical pathology are the backbone of diagnostic medicine. Whether analyzing organ and tissue samples or bodily fluids, the specialty of pathology remains at the heart of determining disease status. Today’s anatomic pathology laboratory requires a reliable information system infrastructure to accession specimens, record gross and microscopic findings, regulate laboratory workflow, and create and deliver reports to requesting providers and organizations. The anatomic pathology laboratory information system (APLIS) must also support quality assurance initiatives, boost patient safety efforts, and aid in regulatory compliance measures. An effective APLIS plays a key role throughout the pathology workflow, supporting and monitoring laboratory operations across the testing continuum.
Core APLIS Functionality
An integrated APLIS allows the laboratory to record and track specimens and to distribute pathology findings rapidly to facilitate timely diagnoses and treatment planning. A single patient’s pathology case may involve multiple samples that each require multiple blocks, which can involve multiple slides. Therefore, an initial patient sample of two to three containers can grow into thirty or forty related samples. For a laboratory that processes hundreds of cases a day, this volume and specimen multiplicity creates the need for reliable specimen tracking and management to eliminate errors and achieve acceptable turnaround times. An APLIS allows laboratory professionals and pathologists to easily capture and access all the pertinent information necessary to manage their portion of the workflow process.
APLIS Integration to Support Interoperability
To achieve rapid turnaround time and support an interoperable healthcare system, an APLIS needs to be interfaced. This allows orders to be electronically received from the host system or EMR/EHR. Testing and patient information is transmitted to the pathology instruments, and patient reports are delivered back to the ordering provider. This connectivity speeds communication of vital results and contributes to the overall quality of patient care.
Vital Analytics Available to Boost Quality Initiatives & Synoptic Reporting
Quality assurance and meeting regulatory requirements are also important aspects of anatomic pathology. Data tracking within the APLIS allows access to required data for monitoring key performance measures and supports synoptic reporting. Synoptic reporting involves using an electronic report in a discrete data field format so that each data element has a known place and format in the report. This reporting format is used to standardize the way data is transmitted and shared between clinical information systems. The goal of synoptic reporting is to help pathologists achieve complete, accurate reports that are easy to create because of the standardized format. An APLIS that supports discrete data storage and helps standardize data entry can assist in the creation of the required synoptic reports.
The Future of Anatomic Pathology
There are myriad advances taking place in the pathology industry, some influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, that are moving the practice into a new age. Digital pathology and whole slide imaging (WSI) are widely considered to have the potential to transform the practice of diagnostic pathology. Digitized slides set the stage for artificial intelligence (AI) tools and machine learning (ML) algorithms to support pathologists in speedier, more accurate diagnosis and treatment planning. APLISs are beginning to support and interface with these evolving technologies.
- The Association for Pathology Informatics offers an LIS Functionality Assessment Toolkit with an anatomic pathology section.
- PathologyOutlines.com has an article—Anatomic pathology LIS: What is an anatomic pathology laboratory information system—that discusses what to consider when looking at APLIS implementation and vendor selection.
Orchard Pathology is a comprehensive diagnostic laboratory information system that provides rules-based decision support, tools to improve patient safety, and result integration for all laboratory departments. Orchard’s high level of flexibility and decision-support technology improves workflow efficiency, error-proofing, and overall quality management by putting the power of advanced metrics and system-wide configurability in the laboratory’s hands.
Orchard Pathology includes advanced workflow tools that help automate accurate billing through support for CPT, ICD-10, and SNOMED CT codes. The solution includes advanced synoptics support using discrete, structured data, required and consistent data input, and adaptable worksheet templates. Orchard Pathology builds in patient safety by offering configurable patient report options, quality laboratory management support, robust data mining tools, and audit logging.
Orchard Enterprise Pathology
Orchard Enterprise Pathology is an inherent diagnostic solution within Orchard Enterprise Lab that allows pathology laboratories to implement automated workflows and electronic worksheets that drive efficiency and patient safety. Sophisticated decision-support rules and data mining capabilities allow standardization of processes, synoptic reporting, and tracking of key performance indicators. Orchard’s expertise in integration and interfacing supports organizational interoperability and data sharing to promote patient-centered care.
Orchard’s enterprise-level solution allows laboratories to function efficiently, safely, and profitably—positioning healthcare organizations for ultimate security, reliability, growth, and success. With the addition of Orchard Enterprise Pathology, our customers can scale their laboratory informatics to meet their business growth needs and ultimately provide better patient care.