Chapter 24 : The Laboratory Information System: Making the Most of It in the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory

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A transformation affecting the workflow and information management in microbiology laboratories is the shift from diagnostic testing based on culture, antigen detection, antibody detection, and microscopy to a greater dependence upon molecular technologies. The responsibilities of the microbiology laboratory leadership team are becoming more informatics-centric as well. This chapter reviews the principles of laboratory informatics and the architecture of information system. A laboratory information system (LIS) consists of one or more servers that provide the array of services, and the information entered into, stored within, and reported from the LIS is directly or indirectly related to laboratory testing. Typically encountered interfaces between the LIS and other information systems include admission/discharge/transfer (ADT) interface and order-entry interface. Long-term storage and retrieval of laboratory data can be easily accommodated by a suitably configured LIS. The current emphasis by payors and healthcare accrediting agencies on utilization review of laboratory services and quality assurance analysis of laboratory testing requires that laboratory activity be evaluated on a regular basis. The chapter discusses the manner in which the LIS can serve to enhance the cost-effectiveness and accuracy of microbiology testing. The clinical laboratory, including the microbiology laboratory, is an ideal candidate for lean/Six Sigma reorganization. Leveraging the capabilities of the LIS to track bar-coded specimens, to connect with testing instruments to improve error-free data flow, and to display laboratory productivity snapshots on workstation dashboards are all important components of a program to pursue excellence in laboratory testing.

Citation: Campos J. 2014. The Laboratory Information System: Making the Most of It in the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, p 458-470. In Garcia L (ed), Clinical Laboratory Management, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817282.ch24
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