What are Laboratory Information Systems?
All modern labs rely on Laboratory Information Systems (LIS), which are used to support and improve basic operations. The popular data management tool provides data tracking support, a flexible, customizable platform, and smart data exchange interfaces. It is designed specifically for regulated environments, i.e., the laboratory. The features and applications of LIS have rapidly evolved in recent years, transforming it from a simple tracking program into one that can be used to manage and plan numerous aspects of laboratory informatics.
No standard definition
To the outside observer, a laboratory is a dull, uneventful place populated by eggheads who like to play with test tubes. But to the insider, it is one of the most exciting places on the planet. Not only is there the ever-present possibility of a major breakthrough, which is what drives all medical researchers, but they also get to work with cutting-edge equipment that would make James Bond jealous.
Because every lab has its own needs, there is no standard, accepted definition of what Laboratory Information Systems actually are. In truth, it means something different to every research scientist or medical professional. However, there are a few basic features every medical researcher requires to do his job.
Laboratory Information Systems help maintain safety standards, quality, and accuracy during a study or project. All systems include basic features that are designed for regulated environments. One of them is barcoding. This document scanning system helps ensure that all case-related documents are made available to the personnel that need them. And because the information is stored electronically, it helps create a paperless workflow that will improve accuracy and efficiency in the lab.
Arguably the most important function of Laboratory Information Systems is to keep track of all the samples and specimens the lab receives. The standard protocol is to register each and every one of them in the LIS when they arrive. This process often includes producing barcodes that can then be affixed to the test tube or container. Because it helps them track samples whenever they are used, most large labs insist on this practice.
All machines wear down over time, which adversely affects their performance. When this happens in the laboratory, the results can be disastrous. Not only will time and money inevitably be lost, but the study or project could be compromised. It is for this reason that most contemporary Laboratory Information Systems include instrument integration features that help workers assess the performance of laboratory instruments.
Electronic Data Exchange
Because they handle massive amounts of data on a daily basis, all labs must keep a close eye on electronic data exchanges. They must make certain that remote sample collection data can be imported and exported quickly and efficiently and that input and output instrument data is managed effectively. They must also ensure that data files can be successfully transferred using a variety of formats, such as Microsoft Excel, Oracle, and SQL.