Users of hospital/electronic health record (EHR)-based laboratory information systems (LIS) are increasingly dissatisfied and concerned about their current system’s ability to keep up with future growth, according to a recent survey featured in the State of the Laboratory Information Systems Industry: Trends in Satisfaction, Reliability, Interoperability, and Security.
Findings also corroborate renewed interest in digital pathology, revealing that over 40% of respondents use or plan to add digital pathology capabilities in the next 12 months. The report is the latest in a series published by XiFin, a provider of technologies and services that deliver operational efficiency, interoperability, and simplicity to the healthcare industry.
Further reading: How Digital Can Transform the Pathology Laboratory
In the recent survey, 48% of respondents who had a homegrown/custom LIS said that their LIS does not integrate very well or at all well, more than double the 21% of respondents who signaled such a shortcoming in 2021. Furthermore, the survey found that more responders with a homegrown/custom LIS reported reliability issues, doubling from 11% in 2021 to 22% this year.
Building on the initial 2021 research report, this latest survey explored satisfaction with different vendors’ LIS solutions and views on the reliability, scalability, security, and interoperability of each laboratory’s current LIS. Key findings from the study showed problems with:
- Scalability – A little more than half of all laboratories identified limitations in their systems’ ability to keep up with long-term growth, with only 37% identifying their system scalability was able to keep up with near-term needs but had a ceiling, and another 16% indicated their system had limited to no scalability. Among those using hospital/EHR-based LIS, the identified limitations were more pronounced, with 20% expressing that their systems had poor scalability, while another 43% indicated scalability would be limited long term. Responders with a homegrown/custom LIS reported even more significant scalability issues, with 69% reporting a long-term ceiling or limited to no scalability.
- Analytics – While robust data and analytics are essential LIS capabilities for an organization to deeply understand the operational and financial sides of the business, nearly two of three surveyed were unaware of the analytics features of their homegrown systems. One in five stated their LIS does not offer a robust analytics solution, 14% reported having to buy an add-on analytics solution, and another 30% indicated that they were unsure whether their LIS provides an analytics solution.
- Capabilities – One-third of respondents stated their LIS has known gaps or didn’t support their testing needs well. Participants from genomics labs most often reported gaps, while cytology and anatomic pathology lab respondents indicated that their LIS didn’t support their testing needs well. Additionally, nearly 40% indicated their current LIS falls short when it comes to handling all aspects of TC/PC workflow.
- Updates & Reliability – Nearly 45% of respondents either weren’t sure whether their organization was operating on the current version or knew it was not up to date. Given the importance of an LIS for delivering patient reports, it was disappointing that almost 50% of participants indicated that their LIS was only “mostly reliable.” More concerning is the 17% of responders who indicated their current LIS has reliability issues.
- Reporting – While most organizations expressed satisfaction with reporting, 18% of respondents with hospital-based LIS systems and 21% of those with homegrown solutions were either unsatisfied or highly unsatisfied with management reporting. Patient reporting fared only slightly better, with 12% of hospital and 21% of those with homegrown systems indicating being unsatisfied or highly unsatisfied.
“The survey showed that labs are increasingly dissatisfied with enterprise system-based LIS modules or highly custom/homegrown solutions that cannot effectively or easily scale or meet their future growth needs. Known scalability, reliability, reporting, and testing capability gaps in your LIS can directly affect your organization’s ability to meet its business development objectives. Even more importantly, they may delay patient care,” says Harley Ross, chief commercial officer, XiFin Inc.
The State of the Laboratory Information Systems Industry survey included nearly 200 individuals representing a variety of laboratories and associated organizations, including anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, hospital outreach laboratories, molecular diagnostics and genomics laboratories, reference laboratories, pain/toxicology laboratories, and biopharma.
Those interested in a comparative report of their current LIS or a future LIS plotted against the research findings may request a customized assessment here.