FileMaker Pro is an easy to use, flexible database tool that is quite popular in the pathology laboratory world.  Many database applications (laboratory information systems or LIS) for this market have been developed due to cost factors and ease of deployment especially if the lab has limited IT resources.  FileMaker Pro will continue to be popular for sometime with smaller volume pathology labs, but what happens when scalability needs increase?

Following are some drivers for migrating to a more enterprise level database solution:

          simultaneous user limitations
          limited manageability
          lack of built-in database replication
          relatively low performance

At Pathagility, we’ve run into scenarios where laboratories are wanting and needing to scale and provide functionality outside the scope of a FileMaker Pro environment.  One approach that we’ve taken (i.e. implemented at a hospital-based pathology lab) is to  offer a migration plan that didn’t call for a complete system replacement initially.  The lab wanted the functionality of our ReportPath product that provides them a marketable way to distribute results and collaborate with their referring physicians and healthcare partners.  We built an interface from their legacy FileMaker Pro system to our ReportPath product so that they could exchange all of the pertinent data and build stronger relationships with their clients/partners.  This approach was an easier pill to swallow than a complete system overhaul.  The next step in the migration is porting the historical data and fully migrating to our WorkPath product.  WorkPath is Pathagility’s web-based, SaaS lab system or LIS.  Once fully migrated to WorkPath, the lab has increased scalability options, better security measures, lower total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) and a much higher level of disaster recovery.

What is your experience with FileMaker Pro systems?  Are you seeing similar trends in migration due to scalability?