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5 reasons why your lab needs a modular, scalable LIS

March 16, 2022 | Daniel Doll
Scalable LIS Software

Needs change. Business evolves. Modern clinical laboratories must be able to adapt to evolutions in the industry and the increasing demands of their clients and patients.

With a modular, scalable laboratory information system (LIS), your clinical lab is prepared for the inevitable.

The challenge, as reported by Medical Laboratory Observer, is that LIS developers could not have predicted where the needs of the lab would go over time. When the entire industry is in a constant state of change, a modular system that can adapt to those changes is a necessity.

Managing clinical laboratory start-up costs

The first hurdle a lab owner faces is the lofty price tag associated with starting a lab. The best way to mitigate the costs for starting a POL or opening a reference lab is to incorporate only the testing you’ll need to be successful early on. Likewise, your lab management software should be tailored only with the connections and options you need to support your initial business plan.

Of course, starting with only the essentials means leaving room to grow as your lab becomes more established, and that’s why choosing a scalable LIS is so important.

Heather Dugan, Client Sales Executive
Looking at our bigger labs in the New York area, they’re adding expansion sites all the time.

Heather Dugan, Client Sales Executive

Accommodate a growing lab workforce with a scalable LIS

One of the surest signs of growth in the laboratory is the need to hire additional lab techs.

“Labs are growing and adding employees,” said Client Sales Executive Heather Dugan. Heather manages CGM LABDAQ client accounts in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic US. “I’ve actually seen some of my labs sub-contract with other labs to help them at this point.”

Sub-contracting is another kind of expansion, and an LIS that can interface with other labs is important, too. But what about the needs for additional staff within the laboratory itself?

With a growing team comes additional workstations, more label printers, new licenses, etc. Lab software such as CGM LABDAQ or CGM SCHUYLAB is designed to incorporate these additions at any time, and that means the IT system never impedes your laboratory’s organic growth.

Adding analyzers and tests

As your lab’s testing menu expands to meet the needs of your clients and patients, you’ll introduce new analyzers into the laboratory.

For many labs, the demands of COVID-19 testing were a natural example of this. As labs acquired various PCR testing instruments, the scalable nature of LIS software such as CGM LABDAQ and CGM SCHUYLAB meant that lab managers could simply purchase additional analyzer interfaces, and CompuGroup Medical would take care of connecting the instruments to the LIS and enabling the secure transmission of orders and results.

“Since COVID hit, labs are adding additional analyzers specific to COVID testing,” Heather said. “They’re performing testing for schools. They're taking in more samples.”

A scalable LIS is ready to accommodate the need for custom reports, increases in testing, connections to additional analyzers, and more.

CGM LABDAQ is the leading laboratory information system in the United States. Intuitive. Secure. Scalable.
CGM SCHUYLAB is a trusted lab management solution. Scalable for POLs and reference labs; perfect for labs with in-house billing and the international market.

Attracting clients and opening expansion sites

The reference lab model really takes off when a lab can expand the number of practices it serves. An interfaced web portal and its options offer another growth opportunity when it comes to attracting new practices.

“CGM LABNEXUS has taken off, because now we have the Patient Portal and the QR Code,” Heather said, referring to the recently expanded functionality of the CGM LABDAQ web portal, CGM LABNEXUS. “The labs and providers are so busy that the web portal helps patients see their results faster.”

When the physical space of your first laboratory has been maximized, that’s when it’s time to break down those walls and open a second location or expansion site.

“Looking at our bigger labs in the New York area,” Heather said, “they’re adding expansion sites all the time, so they are continuing to grow within their area.”

Expansion sites mean many more users, analyzer interfaces, workstations, and printers, but they may also necessitate a secure connection of the remote sites to the server and LIS database at the original laboratory.

Using a scalable LIS to analyze trends and KPIs

How do you know when it’s time to expand with additional testing or into new locations?

The modular nature of an LIS such as CGM LABDAQ means you can expand your management capabilities with software options that let you analyze testing data and business KPIs to uncover trends and business opportunities.

“The modules have been popular this year,” Heather said. “LAB IQ. Data Miner.”

Data Miner lets lab managers create, save, and share customized queries to help you export and analyze data including billing information, diagnoses, results, and demographics.

LAB IQ lets labs examine client test ordering patterns to evaluate the adoption rate of a new test, for example. Labs can use LAB IQ to follow monthly panel trends and daily panel counts, or even to evaluate the performance of individual accessioners.

Preparing for the future with a modular LIS

An increase in patient tests means a greater dependency on your lab and your lab management software. Clinical labs must cater to today’s expectations and rise to meet tomorrow’s demands.

With a scalable laboratory information system, your lab begins with its own unique, ideal setup and is prepared to grow and accommodate change as your business needs evolve.

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