How LIS tweaks can enhance efficiency, patient safety

So, you have a great idea that will improve laboratory workflow and reduce errors? Chances are the change will depend on automation of some sort, and will involve the LIS. But upgrades to laboratory information systems may not come fast enough, and the middleware may not be available to accomplish what you need. Then the question becomes how to customize the LIS to achieve your aims.

That is what the six-member pathology informatics team at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health System has had to do—work on their own, with middleware providers, and with their LIS vendor to meet the demands of their laboratory colleagues.

“That’s the philosophy we have. Our users ask, and we aim to deliver,” Liron Pantanowitz, MD, tells CAP TODAY. An associate professor of pathology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Dr. Pantanowitz also directs cytopathology at UPMC Shadyside, heads UPMC’s pathology informatics fellowship program, and is associate director of Pitt’s Pathology Informatics Division.

Dr. Pantanowitz and his colleague Anil V. Parwani, MD, PhD, detailed several innovative UPMC projects in a CAP ’14 session, “Customizing the Laboratory Information System to Improve Patient Safety and Workflow in the Pathology Laboratory.” These include using the LIS to drive improvements in anatomic pathology quality control, synoptic reporting, and specimen tracking, while exploring the promises—and challenges—of digital pathology and next-generation sequencing.

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