Evaluating a LIMS and reporting solution can be overwhelming. Not only does your lab’s reporting affect the quality of your own lab and processes, but your reports affect the end patient experience, too. While there are many questions you should ask in order to find the right solution and the right team to partner with, we’ve put together 4 top questions you should ask when evaluating a lab reporting solution:
- Can I craft a report that plays to my expertise and insights?
When the specialist at the clinic gets your report, are they going to say, “I know this report. I’ve seen it many times before.”? That kind of uniformity, while sometimes comfortable, doesn’t allow your lab to express your unique value on your reports. Your additional data and perspectives are a huge differentiator for your lab. When evaluating a lab reporting solution, it’s important to ask if that solution can accommodate your unique needs, or if you’ll be forced into a one-size-fits-all report.
A critical component of offering a uniquely valuable report is the ability to process the data relayed to the report in ways that express your lab’s expertise. Is there only one way, in your reporting solution, to interpret the data ingested by it? Can you to define and redefine the algorithm that interprets the data relayed to the report? If there is only one algorithm to interpret the data, who defined it and why? Can you move at the speed of research – or not – at your comfort level?
Further, even with a uniquely designed report and expertly customized algorithm generating data for your report, you need to ask if your subject matter experts (SMEs) can apply their insights on a case-by-case basis during the generation of any given report? And If so… How are these expert insights relayed to the report?
If you’re limited to a one-size-fits-all report, a one-way-to-do-it algorithm or a canned-responses-only report generation mechanism… In the least you may not be able to express critically differentiating components of your lab and its expertise. But in the worst of situations you may have to hold cases because they do not pass muster with your experts.
- How does my report get delivered?
When evaluating a reporting solution, you need to consider whether your reports will be bound up inside of the system, or whether the solution will make your reports readily available across multiple reporting channels. For example if your client – the clinician – wants to access their reports online, can they do that? Can they receive email updates that reports are ready? If a clinic still relies on faxes, can they receive the reports that way? Or, without going through a complex IT hurdle, will you be able to provide electronic copies directly out to clinics?
The core of this question is delivery – making your reports available across multiple channels so your clients get your reports as quickly and as easily as possible.
- What happens when I want to expand the platform of tests I offer?
What if you only do toxicology, PGx or women’s health at the moment, but you want to expand your testing capabilities? If you move onto a reporting system that only does ONE kind of reporting, then you need to go back to the drawing board and purchase a new solution when you decide to expand your business.
Your lab needs a reporting system that can flex around new offerings and translate those new offerings into familiar workflows that ease on-boarding and accelerate adoption.
- Is there an API?
As your business grows, you’ll find you have more IT needs and have multiple systems – sometimes performing multiple tasks simultaneously. Your reporting solution should be a facilitator of data movement, not a hinder it. Your reporting solution should not silo off important data from other systems that run important factors across the lab (e.g business critical systems that you may already have in place or could adopt in the future). It’s important that your solution has a full API (application program interface) that can be extended around both existing and new offerings.
Critical lab systems need to be able to access and retrieve the important data (i.e. finished clinician reports, case data, demographic data, business data, user data, etc) they need to get the job done.
For more information on how your lab can take advantage of superior reporting and LIMS software, check out these recent Pathagility resources:
About the Author
Brandon Willis is VP of Development at Pathagility. For more information, http://www.pathagility.com/about/.