The future of the lab is not inside the LIS…it is outside. Performing a laboratory test is now a commodity, a place where high quality and efficiency are assumed features, not extra values had at a premium. So, much like a bag of sugar or flour at the grocery store, there is little brand loyalty (or brand awareness for that matter) in lab testing. The cheapest, meets-minimum product will win every time. In this climate, labs have been reduced to a mere black box that exchanges an order for a result. But this reduction is, in reality, a self-imposed prison.
The labs that are succeeding are the ones that have evolved past the traditional confines of the four walls of the laboratory. These labs are using their LIS as something more than just the traditional workflow engine, billing machine, or report typewriter. These labs are using their LIS as a platform to project their value back to the patient and the care team. These labs are becoming active, engaged members of the care team for the patient. Leveraging the new climate of interoperability and employing appropriate tools, the modern LIS can connect, transmit, and proactively engage in the management of the care of the patient. The labs that are thriving in today’s storm of increased demand with decreased reimbursement are using these tools via their LIS to move past the old era of just performing laboratory tests and are proudly claiming the role of “The Diagnostic Expert” in healthcare.