To start this post, let us take an example of the laboratory which has three collection centers in the city and only one main center where all tests are done and reports generated. Now consider that you are an employee with this lab and have to travel carrying all the samples from your collection center to the main laboratory and finally collect the reports from that laboratory back to the collection center to share with patients. It doesn’t sound difficult, right? Now let us understand the overall procedure for doing the same. A patient walks into your collection center, he stands in line for registration. The person on the counter will note down all the patients credentials manually. The patient submits his samples which will have to be labeled manually by a technician with paper slips and put in a storage area. You, as the carrier will pick up all these sample bottles and carry them around town to the main laboratory for testing. Then you will have to keep a track of all the samples you brought and submit to the lab in that very same order. The lab pathologist will run the tests and prepare reports manually, mapping each sample with results and transferring the results to a professional report later on. The report preparation is being done by manually filling in details. Then you come back to the lab the next day, collect those reports and take them back to the collection center. Finally, patients start coming in the next day and ask for their reports. You search the reports manually from a huge pile of envelopes you have to hand over the reports to the patient.
An exhausting task, right? Yes. But is this error free? No.
The lab technician had to stick labels to the samples manually, there could have been an error in that. While picking up samples from the storage, you could have missed a few samples. You rekey manually on submitting the samples. The pathologist results are noted manually, the chance of two samples being mixed and reported wrong. You pick samples from the lab to take back to the collection center, the chance of some report being lost exist.
What could you have done differently to ensure error free reporting?
You could have implemented a laboratory information management system (LIMS) which would have automated the whole process and cut out the manual transactions in the first place.
Now consider the Laboratory Information Management System was in place.
A patient takes an appointment via his mobile phone/internet by searching open slots in the lab. He walks in the lab at the designated time and shares his details with the technician. The technician punches all his data in his internet enabled device and the computer generates a unique code for the patient. The technician takes to print out stickers of the unique code/bar code and sticks on the samples box. The patient picks his sample box and goes inside to submit his sample. The sample with the bar code is kept in the storage and the bar code scanner on a mobile device signals that the sample has reached inside storage. You, as the carrier, come in with a mobile based scanning device and keep all samples in your vehicle while scanning them on entry. If any sample is missing from the list, the bar code flashes an error message. Hence all samples inside the vehicle are being tracked by the LIMS software. You reach the lab and hand over the samples to the pathologist. He scans all incoming samples through his mobile based scanning device to ensure all samples that left from the collection center have reached the lab. The scanner again raises a red flag is any sample is amiss. The pathologist tests the samples and simultaneously enters all results on his hand held device/mobile. On signing off, the mobile device automatically generates a report and sends electronically to the collection center with the unique ID. This ensures there is no mixing of results in reporting. Now with all reports present online, the patient can choose to check his report at home and take prints or come down to the lab where the lab technician helps the patients with prints immediately.
This is the power of a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). Automation is the key to the future of labs and mobile devices are playing a crucial role in developing the lab of the future. Error free, no contamination, robust, responsive, effective – all these form the core of the lab of the future.
Today, the Laboratory industry is seeing challenges that didn’t exist back in the days. To manage operations in such a day, a robust, agile and modern LIS is needed – but what is the answer to those challenges?
The answer is CARE LabTrak!
CARE LabTrak from CAREDATA is a result of the team’s rich experience of 2 decades in the healthcare IT domain.CARE LabTrak not only addresses the laboratories current needs and pain areas, but also offer unmatched power and flexibility of cloud computing, scalability for multi-center and multi-device operations and real time control & monitoring of labs from a remote center.
Embrace CARE LabTrak to expand your business, process more samples, and increase your revenues dramatically. Visit our website to know more about the Future of Lab Information System!