The pandemic has put a lot more pressure on laboratories in the U.S. and around the world. COVID-19 led to an unprecedented demand for laboratory services with a significant increase in workload. A single institution performed over 873 000 tests in a little over two months. Technicians now need to complete lab orders faster, and increased lab orders can stretch them to the limit. Thankfully, lab managers can improve operational efficiency through lab interface system integration. When all instruments are seamlessly linked to the lab information management system (LIMS), here are some benefits to expect.
1. Automation Boosts Efficiency
Interfacing lab equipment with the LIMS improves the productivity of lab technicians and the utilization of the instruments.
Imagine a situation where the lab orders come in from clinicians directly to your lab’s LIMS. After arranging the samples in the test machine, a technician sends the details for the lab test online.
Subsequently, the instrument sends the results automatically back to the LIMS. There’s hardly any need for manual entry, and your staff focuses more on ensuring that all samples are correctly labeled, arranged, and tested.
Process efficiency achieved through automation also reduces employee stress and burnout.
2. Connectivity Eliminates Errors
Manual entry increases the likelihood of errors in lab tests. The errors start at the source of the order. Overstretched physicians and their assistants can make mistakes while typing or writing out test orders manually.
Sometimes, manually processed samples are mislabeled. This can have dire consequences.
In contrast, automated test order processing drastically reduces errors. This is particularly true when there’s a need to process a large number of orders in a short time.
Your test equipment can receive test values from the LIS, use them for testing, and return the results and analyses, with minimal manual input. A fully integrated LIS can also send the test results to the client’s EHR through a bi-directional interface.
3. Integration Shortens Turnaround Time
When your lab processes are automated, you can deliver results faster and increase your daily output. Automation eliminates any operational bottlenecks.
Lab technicians don’t have to spend time checking samples and order forms. They can use barcoded labels to retrieve information about orders.
All orders arrive with all required details because the system has checked them for completeness. As a result, technicians can process many more orders per day with process automation than manual processing.
4. Quick Results Enhance Patient Care
Virtually all diagnosis and treatment depends on results from diagnostic tests. Physicians need quick and accurate results to arrive at the correct diagnosis of symptoms. Then they can decide to treat the condition or refer the patient to a specialist.
When all lab equipment has a smooth connection to the LIS, the test results can quickly arrive at the doctor’s desk. Without the need to send and receive faxes, the doctor can quickly analyze the test results. When referrals are necessary, the physician may also decide to send the test results to the specialist.
Labs that use superior interfaces to connect all their equipment to their LIS will function more efficiently than those without them. To design, develop, and deploy such interfaces, you need to work with an integration specialist.
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Contact Lifepoint Informatics at 877.522.8378 to discuss all your interface development needs. Visit our contact page now to book a free demo of our interface solutions.