Laboratory administration / management of pathology practices
Computer systems AP / LIS
How to choose an anatomic pathology / cytology / molecular laboratory information system (detailed)

Author: Michael Mihalik

Revised: 5 January 2018, last major update May 2014

Copyright: (c) 2002-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Anatomic pathology / laboratory information system [title]

Cite this page: Mihalik, M. How to choose an anatomic pathology / cytology / molecular laboratory information system (detailed). website. Accessed March 19th, 2018.
Resources available
  • You have a lot of choices and material to help you choose an AP / LIS:
    • CAP Today produces an annual listing of AP / LIS vendors
    • The Association for Pathology Informations has an LIS Functionality Assessment Toolkit with a section for anatomic pathology
How to start
  • Before plunging into the details of an RFP or compiling a list of specific questions, consider your overall objectives - what specifically do you want to get out of your AP / LIS
    • AP / LIS is a major expenditure of time, money and effort
    • It is a decision that you will likely live with for > 10 years
    • It is a decision that you will interact with on each and every case, multiple times an hour, a day, a month, a year
    • Making a bad decision may drive you crazy on a daily basis or bankrupt your organization
  • Recommended to start at a global level and determine the important details for your use:
    • Reporting system
    • Tracking system
    • Dashboard system
    • Metrics system
    • Interface engine
  • After determining these global details, use the API toolkit to define what these concepts mean to your organization
    • Consider not only current problematic workflow areas but workflow aspects that work well, which you do not want damaged by the AP / LIS
    • Review the literature, paying attention to workflow aspects relevant to your own organization
    • Disregard issues not important to you, even if important to other organizations
      • Example: interface engines are overkill if you are only sending results to 2 outside providers
Evaluation of vendors
  • Consider not only IF a vendor provides a sought after functionality, but HOW the vendor provides it
    • Products that take 20 steps versus 10 steps to accession the same case may lead to lost productivity, considering the thousands of cases handled each year
  • Consider not only software functionality but your future relationship with the vendor of this software, which will be important regarding:
    • How do you get the software fixed
    • How do you get the software updated
    • How do you get the software adapted to your environment
      • Software changes may not be important if AP / LIS role is only to meet regulatory compliance
      • Software changes are important if AP / LIS intended to be critical component of daily operations, to give you an advantage over competitors