Laboratory administration / management of pathology practices
Computer systems AP / LIS
Implementation and management of an AP / LIS

Author: Michael Mihalik

Revised: 5 January 2018, last major update May 2015

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

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

Cite this page: Mihalik, M. AP / LIS Implementation and Management of an AP / LIS. website. Accessed March 19th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Implementation and management of an AP / LIS is vitally important to your organization; it is a task that never ends
  • AP / LIS touches the daily lives of every person in your organization; to implement and manage this system effectively, one must put mechanisms into place that will communicate and work with the entire organization
  • Every AP / LIS vendor has some version of a "cookbook" to guide the laboratory with implementation; many tasks will have to be completed and communication and understanding your laboratory%s specific workflow is essential, which is why the most important aspect of implementing and managing an AP / LIS is selection of a system administrator
Selection of a system administrator
  • System administrators coordinate the efforts of each laboratory member and are the voice of the laboratory in communications with the vendor
    • Must be an excellent communicator and have the ability to understand and communicate minute details of your laboratory
    • Although many organizations are tempted to use an individual with IT experience, a laboratorian or secretary with excellent communication skills and laboratory workflow knowledge may be preferable, because it is generally easier to understand the logic of a computer system than to maneuver the vagaries of human interactions
  • It is critical to map out your current workflow for ALL scenarios and project this workflow onto the new AP / LIS - the last thing you want are surprises; even if there has to be a manual workaround, it is far better to go into the first day of a new AP / LIS with known issues than unknown surprises
  • Once your AP / LIS is up and running, you%re not done - you are just beginning; your system administrator will be busy with:
    1. Management or data reports
    2. Instrument interfaces
    3. EMR or laboratory interfaces
    4. Regulatory changes
    5. Workflow changes
    6. Version upgrades
  • You have just purchased an AP / LIS and it manages your workflow well but how well; that%s where management or data reports come in
    • On a daily, weekly or monthly basis, there is a constant demand for the information that only the AP / LIS can provide
    • Without this information, the laboratory is operating blindly
  • As technology evolves, there is more and more reason to interface instrumentation and of course, EMRs and laboratories
    • AP / LIS can send demographics and orders to stainers, receive orders from EMRs and send results to EMRs
    • It can additionally send orders to sendout laboratories and receive results
    • AP / LIS software can be used to speed and enhance all of this interaction
      • Software comes with more than a financial price and that is the requirement to validate and test each of these functional modules
      • In larger organizations, whole departments are dedicated to interface validation
  • Perhaps not on a daily basis but more often than one would think, there are workflow and regulatory changes that require a reconfiguration and validation of the existing workflow; these changes can affect the workflow of one or many people and all of it needs to be envisioned, tested, and implemented
  • Depending on your organization%s desire to obtain the vendor%s latest offerings, the need to update the entire AP / LIS must be addressed
    • This effort can be quite significant depending on the number of changes in the AP / LIS
    • This is generally a multiple month process
  • Good AP / LIS can enhance the productivity and efficiency of any laboratory but poor implementation and management can wreck the best efforts of all parties
    • Pay attention to the initial and ongoing efforts required of this effort and your organization will reap the rewards for years to come; ust keep in mind, the effort never ends