Given the extreme competitive environment, lab owners and pathologists are losing sleep over multiple challenges, with increasing data volumes haunting them every day. Primary areas of concern include faster processing of sample, unpredictability of number of samples to be processed on a daily basis for planning resources, and the need to grow and scale their business to multiple cities and centers, fast. The possibility of human errors is compounding the problem, resulting in inaccurate information and potentially causing serious repercussions to the patients. In order to overcome these problems, what they need is a system that takes away the guesswork, avoids wastage, integrates the lab devices to remove human error from the equation, and helps in bettering the healthcare services.

Laboratory information system (LIS) is a critical infrastructure tool to support the laboratory in this challenging time. With stakes so high, many facilities are evaluating their systems. The options available today include enterprise-wide solutions as well as best-of-breed laboratory-focused solutions. Decision makers weigh the risks and benefits of a single database system, which appears to streamline some maintenance, but also creates far more downtime in the laboratory against that of a best-of-breed, which passes information to and from the hospital system using interfaces, and is more robust in operations and uptime.

The cost of switching LIS can be quite high, given training and interfacing requirements; so it is critical for lab directors to select an LIS provider that will be effective at responding to the needs of the laboratory. Costs are compounded when additional vendors and products are required to complete the laboratory solution set. All departments, including blood bank, clinical and anatomic pathology, molecular, genetics, and outreach should be considered by hospital and laboratory administrators. These leaders also need to consider carefully how well each available LIS product and provider can support clinical and financial success through robust laboratory operations that address focus areas such as ambulatory care, outreach, molecular and genetics testing, and data analytics.

This type of evaluation is common when lab leaders are considering system standardization after healthcare system consolidation. Consolidation is a major trend in healthcare. Through it, healthcare systems can improve economies of scale, improve quality, and lower costs.

Market Dynamics

LIS adoption is significantly low in laboratories pertaining to Indian healthcare industry. Its adoption in healthcare is expected to see a gradual rise by 2018 from the present adoption level. In healthcare sector, LIS finds application in life sciences segment as well as in biotechnology and pharmacy segments that require LIS for effective data management.

LIS is a major benefactor for contract service laboratories that require handling of bulk information. Biotechnology industry in India holds tremendous potential in the years to come and the escalating investment in the sector is a great encouragement for LIS market. The simultaneous rapid development of Indian healthcare sector that is seeing rise in number of various types of laboratories will propel the future of LIS adoption in Indian healthcare sector as well.

However, cost and time required for installation of LIS often dissuade its popularity among laboratory owners. Lack of legal regulations specifying quality standard of a laboratory is another major challenge for LIS market in India. Though the market is still in a nascent stage, yet the vendors are trying to make the system user friendly and cost effective.

On a global front, the demand for laboratory management systems has been rising rapidly. The global market is expected to reach USD 2.12 billion by 2021 from USD 1.37 billion in 2016, at a CAGR of 9.1 percent. A number of factors such as the rising chronic disease prevalence, growing need to curb diagnostic errors, utilization of LIS to enhance laboratory clinical workflow efficiency, rising integration of LIS and EHR systems and demand for quality and precision diagnosis are driving the demand for LIS solutions. Moreover, this market is boosted by increasing government and industry players' initiatives into the healthcare IT and laboratory services across the globe. The worldwide market for LIS may face severe challenges in the near future due to the dearth of skilled professionals. The high cost incurred on maintenance and service is also anticipated to hinder the growth of this market over the next few years.

Some Trends

Segment-wise. The standalone LIS segment is estimated to account for the largest share of the global LIS market in 2016, while the integrated LIS segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR over the next 5 years.

Based on delivery mode.Segmenting the market as on-premise LIS, web-based LIS, and cloud-based LIS delivery mode. The on-premise segment is estimated to account for the largest share of the global LIS market in 2016 due to factors such as enhanced data security and customization of systems as per healthcare provider in on-premise delivery mode.

Based on the component. Segmenting the market into LIS services and software. The services segment is estimated to account for the largest share of the global LIS market in 2016, and the software segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR.

Based on end user. Segmenting the market into hospital laboratories, independent laboratories, physician office laboratories, and others (blood banks, retail clinics, and nursing homes). The hospital laboratories segment is estimated to account for the largest share of the global market in 2016, whereas the independent laboratories segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR.

Region-wise. In 2016, North America accounted for the largest share of the global market, followed by Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Rest of the World. The Asia-Pacific market is slated to grow at the highest CAGR and serve as a revenue pocket for companies offering LIS.

Way Forward

In a healthcare system focused on value, a best-of-breed (BoB) LIS is invaluable as an integrated part of a larger integrated delivery network (IDN). Laboratory medicine plays a critical part in a value-based system because lab testing can bend the downstream cost curve and positively impact patient outcomes. The lab of the future will require a BoB system to focus on internal efficiencies, and on the interoperability and analytics throughout the rest of the healthcare organization.

Understanding that labs will no longer be revenue centers, internally, the LIS will help make lab workflow as efficient and cost-effective as possible. Externally, the LIS of the future will support test utilization, population health management, and other advanced analytics that focus on downstream savings and improving patient outcomes. Also, the LIS of the future must be prepared to handle what lab testing means in the future. Testing will continue to grow to include more molecular and genetic testing, point-of-care testing, home health testing, and mHealth.

Therefore, the future LIS must go beyond basic order capture and results delivery. Labs must engage more fully with diagnostic communities and provide greater value in a changing healthcare landscape, and therefore their systems must also become adept. However, replacing an LIS is expensive and not always an option.

The LIS of tomorrow must work in concert with other complementary technology solutions that enable more complete management of the diagnostic process. This means to expand the capabilities of the LIS to provide a unique breadth of support for clinical testing processes and connectivity to systems, instruments, and providers across the world – spanning the pre- to post-analytic stages of care. Together, these solutions can connect community care givers with laboratories equipped with the most advanced clinical capabilities available. Tomorrow's laboratory technology will need to deliver:

  • lAdvanced connectivity between labs and physician customers, as well as other labs
  • lEfficient clean electronic orders, from any source
  • lSupport for multi-lab networks, including centralized administration of joint test catalogs networks
  • lFlexible results reporting, including multi-lab report consolidation
  • lImproved patient outcomes, safety, and cost savings

This technology also must help the lab address the shift to fee-for-value, capitated payments, and hospital/lab consolidations that are threatening to commoditize or outsource many current diagnostic services.

The clich, Labs, like any other business – can do well by doing good, is so true. The right LIS can make healthcare smarter and patients safer – and, at the same time, support operations to help the lab function effectively and successfully in challenging economic times.

10 Diagnostic Imaging Trends for 2018



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