Molecular diagnostics has undergone considerable development in the last decade. The range of molecular tests that are available — and the demand for them — continues to increase steadily, especially as precision medicine gains a foothold.
Molecular diagnostics labs are faced with rising client numbers and more operational complexity. They now have to process unprecedented volumes of patient samples from collection, through analysis, all the way to report generation.
To run efficiently and grow their bottom line, molecular diagnostics labs need a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).
A LIMS supports the full cycle of lab functions, making it possible to take a sample from the point of order to a diagnostic report smoothly. It facilitates reimbursements, final report delivery, and many other ancillary lab operations, including those linked to quality assurance and gaining operational intelligence.
Should you consider a new LIMS in the new year?
Is your current LIMS working for your lab?
LIMS’ have long evolved past simply letting you track patient samples. So if that’s all your current LIMS offers, then you’re probably for a change.
Inflexible and cumbersome workflows, poor connectivity, inadequate customer support, zero visibility into lab performance, or not specialized for a molecular lab.
Or are you running a lab without LIMS?
Looking for sample data in spreadsheets (and not finding it), compliance is a nightmare, generating final reports takes too long, or are paper-based processes impossible to scale?
Tired of dealing with any, some, or even all of these problems?
A modern, state-of-the-art LIMS platform can transform your lab. You should consider switching to a new LIMS now if you want to stay competitive and take your molecular diagnostics lab to the next level.
The demand for molecular testing is not slowing down— mainly due to the ongoing pandemic and breakthroughs in precision medicine. More than a third of the respondents in one survey reported that demand for their lab’s services has grown by up to 25% since the pandemic emerged.
New molecular diagnostics labs keep springing up with notable frequency in response to this change in market demands, and existing clinical labs have quickly added molecular tests to their menu. Accordingly, any molecular lab that wants to stay relevant and grow its bottom line must improve its efficiency, boost its capacity and retain more clients as soon as possible.
Many labs have homegrown applications they have trouble supporting. When these labs want to branch off, offer testing to the public, or grow their business in some way, they can’t — because of the limitations of their homegrown LIMS.
Improve Lab Efficiency
Save time and eliminate manual errors
Molecular diagnostics labs need a complete LIMS solution that encompasses the entire lifecycle of the laboratory’s functions.Its functionalities should cover — or seamlessly integrate with software that covers — order entry, order accessioning, processing, result validation, reporting, billing, and clinical interpretation.
Its dashboard should alert lab technicians to actions that need to be taken — whether it is reports ready for release or rejected samples pending review. If your LIMS doesn’t have these capabilities, then you are probably handling major lab processes separately — either manually or using different, unconnected software. This reduces the speed at which test orders can be processed and analyzed, and leaves room for errors.
It also increases the workload of lab staff who would either have to enter and track data manually (and repeatedly), or waste time learning to use different software with different user interfaces and protocol. The implementation of an advanced LIMS solution ensures that you are able to eliminate unnecessary tasks, speed up delivery of results, and significantly increase your technicians’ productivity.
Molecular processes are notoriously complex. LIMS with clunky or one-size-fits-all workflows make it difficult to achieve operational efficiency. You need a LIMS purpose-built for molecular laboratories to simplify even the most complicated workflows. It should come with preconfigured workflows and the flexibility to customize or create new ones for your lab to gain operational seamlessness.
Stay connected to the ecosystem
The amount of value you gain from your LIMS is highly dependent on how it works with your lab’s systems and external platforms.
If your LIMS doesn’t have good connectivity, you’re not only creating double-data entry tasks for your technicians, you’re also impeding smooth communications with physicians and relevant stakeholders. Your LIMS should have the capabilities to securely deliver the results directly to your clients via your lab’s online portal or email.
It should also have integrations with leading patient portal platforms, clinical interpretation platforms, and EMRs so you can push results directly to clients hitch-free. You’ll get your clients the answers they need conveniently, quickly, and in a user-friendly way—no matter who, or where they are.
Increase Lab Capacity
Labs with no LIMS — or with outdated ones — ultimately reach a point where it becomes difficult to increase the volume and diversity of samples they process.
Spreadsheets previously used in the past, fast become unsearchable, and it would generally seem like there simply isn’t enough time in a day to process additional samples.
These labs would also be hard-pressed to add new tests to their service offerings, as integrating them would be too daunting. Your LIMS should be cloud-based, accessible from any location, and it should offer virtually unlimited space (and back- up) for your data.
This is where a modern LIMS that drives your lab’s growth comes in. Your LIMS should be cloud-based, accessible from any location, and it should offer virtually unlimited space (and back-up) for your data. With it, you should be able to quickly pull up data about any sample processed in the lab. It should not matter if it was the 100,000th test or if it was analyzed two years ago.
Finally, it should give you the flexibility to add new lines of testing and change workflows and sample throughputs faster than the competition.
Boost Lab Revenue
There are multiple ways a lab can boost its revenue, and the LIMS it uses should support and drive all of them.
Get more orders and add new tests
You’re unlikely to increase the number of orders you get if providers find it a chore to place orders with you. Slow turnaround times also mar the customer experience, and limit your ability to handle increased demand.
Your lab will greatly benefit from a LIMS that delivers your clients a convenient, user-friendly experience when they place orders. The LIMS must also streamline and simplify your sample processing operations to reduce turnaround time.
And to cater to providers who tend to order high volumes of tests, your LIMS should have uninterrupted connections with EHRs for effortless results transmission. Providing this will motivate them to increase and continue placing test orders with your lab.
Finally, LIMS should also be flexible enough to let you modify your lab’s sample throughput and add new lines of tests as demand shifts and grows.
Review and optimize performance
For your lab to grow, you must be able to obtain actionable insights from your data. If you do not have visibility into your lab’s operations and performance, then you are missing out on chances to spot inefficient processes and unrealized revenue opportunities, and cut down on spending.
Manually parsing through large quantities of data like a lab typically has, is highly inefficient and probably ineffective. Your lab’s LIMS should provide detailed and shareable insights into metrics such as turnaround time, revenue cycle, and overall performance. This will give you the operational intelligence you need to make informed decisions about your business.
Your LIMS should also have integrations with major revenue cycle management platforms, customer relationship management platforms, and instrumentation platforms so that you are able to effectively and efficiently implement your growth-driving business decisions.
Keeping up with Industry Changes
Molecular diagnostics started its rise to prominence in the 1980s, when the Human Genome Project was first established. Since then, it has evolved from being primarily applied to infectious diseases and hematological disorders to encompassing even the rarest inherited diseases known to humanity.
In parallel, the technology employed in molecular diagnostics keeps changing too. Since next-generation sequencing came onto the scene in 2000, many newer, high-throughput sequencing methods have been developed.
In short, molecular diagnostics is indispensable to medicine and research, and it will not stop advancing.
Not adapting to new changes in the field fast enough has detrimental effects on a molecular diagnostics lab. The lab will be slower, less precise, and find itself not as “in-demand” as the competition. To keep up, your lab needs a LIMS that not only supports your current instruments and equipment, but one that can quickly adapt to accommodate future ones.
Additionally, your LIMS vendor should also be dedicated to enhancing the LIMS capabilities over time and providing outstanding customer support to your lab. Molecular diagnostics is a growing area and new tests become available every day. You want to be with a vendor you can grow with.
The implementation resources and support they offer are really important. A major reason why labs leave their LIMS vendors — and rightfully so — is that support is so bad with the LIMS, that they simply don’t want to partner with them going forward.
When evaluating a new LIMS, you can gauge the quality of the vendor’s support by asking for testimonials, reading online reviews, and speaking directly with past and existing customers.
Enhancing Patient Care Quality
Care delivery begins the moment a test has been ordered. Your lab should offer (near) real-time collaboration between itself and ordering physicians. This will improve the quality of care the patient will get and expedite how fast they will receive it.
A cloud-based LIMS is needed to facilitate this real-time collaboration. With one, physicians will be able to place test orders online, track the status of their samples in real-time, instantly access the final reports, and transmit them safely to patients. They will also be able to communicate easily with the lab should the need arise.
Your LIMS should always be connected to leading EHRs, patient portal platforms, and clinical interpretation platforms so that clients can have access to results quickly, seamlessly, and in the manner they prefer.
In fact, the benefits of good connectivity with clinical interpretation platforms stretch far beyond ease and speed. It ensures that final lab reports are more targeted and actionable, and contain only clinically relevant data. This, in turn, improves the quality of care that physicians can deliver to their patients.
Transform your Lab with Ovation LIMS
The only comprehensive technology platform for your molecular diagnostics lab. Ovation is on a mission to redefine the role of clinical laboratories in delivering better healthcare. Whether you’re just starting molecular testing or you’re well established, we can help.
Our products make it easier for labs to bring innovative tests to the patients that need them. Ovation’s cloud-based lab management platform is purpose-built for molecular testing, helping labs improve throughput, decrease turnaround times, and scale to increased testing volumes.
Molecular diagnostics-specific features
Ovation’s lab management platform is purpose-built for molecular testing, helping labs improve throughput, decrease turnaround times, and scale to increased testing volumes.
Ovation’s cloud-based LIMS connects with other tools in your lab’s ecosystem to ensure a smooth workflow for both you and your clients.You can integrate with all leading provider EMRs, revenue cycle management platforms, instrumentation applications, report delivery, clinical interpretation platforms, and customer relationship management tools.
Flexibility like you’ve never seen
The high level of customizability allows for iterative changes as you adjust workflows and add new lines of testing. Its customizable workflows, designed for complex molecular testing, also reduce the potential for error and improve throughput.
From hands-on implementation to ongoing personalized support and training, Ovation’s experienced team will ensure you have everything you need to succeed.