Medical laboratory informatics

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Medical laboratory informatics is a branch of health informatics. Medical laboratory informatics provides general information about computing and the different components of the computer.


Then the article gives basic information about networking and how it works. The authors briefly mention the importance of the World Wide Web to pathologists as a training and educational tool. An introduction for databases, as the preferred method of storage for a large application like the LIS, is then given. [1]

Then the authors introduce the main topic of the article which is Lab information system. LIS functions include workflow management, specimen tracking, data entry and reporting, interfacing with other systems, and providing billing information. It could be used for quality assurance. Then the authors talk about each function in details.

  1. Interface: Most laboratories report results electronically through an interface to an EMR or HIS. A data exchange with other information systems and devices can improve the efficiency and eliminate potential error.
  2. Workflow: LIS supports the workflow in all steps pre-analytic, analytic and post-analytic. Certain areas in the laboratory have specialized LIS needs, Microbiology and histopathology as well as Blood bank. There is a choice within the lab between integrated or separate systems for anatomic pathology, blood bank and clinical pathology.
  3. Rules: LIS can easily perform calculation and execute algorithms or rules. This reduces errors and staff needs. One advantage of LIS in blood bank is the computer assisted cross-match to confirm the compatibility between patient and donor without doing the serologic crossmatch.
  4. Auto-verification: It needs to be performed using middleware, or the LIS. It ensures consistency of applying decision rules across all shifts at all times and it decreases the turnaround time.
  5. Standards: It defines how to encode identifiable data and how to package and communicate this information. Examples of different standards include HL7, XML, and ASTM.
  6. Digital imaging: Image-enhanced reports are a growing trend among pathologists. Telepathology has demonstrated improved accuracy and reproducibility.
  7. Coding: LOINC is one example of a numeric code system aimed at standardizing laboratory and clinical codes. It works within HL7 messages to standardize test names and codes.

Specialty laboratories, such as molecular diagnostics, cytogenetic, flow cytometry and tissue typing, do not conform to current LIS models. They represent a new challenge for information management in pathology informatics. By Bassima Hammoud