What is the true cost of laboratory information systems (LIS) that support pathology?  When calculating, there are items that seem quite obvious and others that may be overlooked.  Software licensing and annual maintenance fees of traditional systems make up the majority of the obvious expenditures.  In the ever evolving health-care IT (HIT) world, one needs a crystal ball to look into the future to know what capabilities its systems will need.  For this reason, it is difficult to factor in costs for upgrades and additional modules but in dealing with most traditional vendors, you know some costs need to be planned for.  Then there are those capital expenditures – hardware, software, networking bandwidth and infrastructure.  When you add current and future costs for these items plus the expense of IT labor needed to support (daily maintenance, backups, etc.) this environment, the total cost of ownership (TCO) becomes much clearer.

As proven in other industries, On-demand or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) environments offer a simpler TCO value proposition.  Partnering with the right SaaS vendor, a lab can have a flexible, continually enhanced system that can support some/all of its work-flow system needs in a highly secure, redundant, and scalable infrastructure environment.  All of this is delivered like a utility – at a fixed rate.

It may be worth asking, what is the true cost of the LIS?