When Pathologists don’t have all the information they need or have to spend time searching for a patient in their system, diagnosis can be delayed – impacting patient health. It’s not enough for your system to just store digital images.
If you don’t have deep, database-level integration throughout your entire slide imaging system, you aren’t getting all the value you should.
And that’s probably causing your entire lab some frustrating workflow problems.
Put Your System to the Test
Although digital imaging has been a boon to pathology in many ways, most laboratory management and LEM systems have only basic integration with their whole slide imaging systems. So while these systems might call themselves ‘digital,’ they’re not actually doing much to streamline your processes.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: your pathologists have a digital image in one system, but still have to sign into a another to look up a patient’s full details. The need to verify that information in both systems adds further delays, not to mention the potential to introduce errors.
Here’s a simple way to find out if you have access to the full patient “picture.” Try pulling up a patient in your LIS or Pathology system. At the very least, you’ll probably get some basic information —such as the patient’s name, patient number, gender and birthday — but that’s just the bare minimum you need in order to identify the patient. If you can’t automatically call up both the patient and the matching study in your digital imaging system, then your system doesn’t have deep database-level integration – leading to workflow challenges, wasted time and potential errors.
LabVantage Medical Suite Pathology solves this issue of tried-and-true database-level integration with whole slide imaging systems. The suite provides an all-in-one multidisciplinary laboratory information system that enables business and lab leaders to streamline the entire laboratory operation, automate routine tasks and processes, and reduce errors and overall costs.
With the LabVantage LIS, the full database of patient information is accessible in a single place, and the application’s diagnostics view includes icons that indicate which scanned images are available from the patient’s case. Your pathologists only need to look up the patient once, and the system automatically brings up the slides they need to review. The pathologist can then make any notations or comments, which are automatically entered into the system. No time is wasted entering new information into multiple systems, which reduces the opportunities for error. This contributes to improvement in the efficiency and quality of laboratory work, and the safety and quality of patient care.
Streamlining Real-World Care
An excellent example of these benefits in practice is Region Skåne Laboratory Medicine, a health- care system in Sweden. In 2019, the region deployed LabVantage Medical Suite to manage data in nine general labs, four pathology labs, and two microbiology labs across Region Skåne’s health system, including at Skåne University Hospital — Sweden’s third largest hospital, serving more than 1200 inpatients per day in 2019 — and Helsingborg and Kristianstad hospitals. In total, the region’s 10 hospitals perform some 30 million lab tests annually.
The LabVantage LIS was integrated with different hospital data systems and laboratory instruments. For example, it interfaces with a Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), allowing more than 4,000 histology slides to be scanned daily, with digital images available via computer screen.
As a result, diagnostic quality has significantly improved, particularly for complex cases. The system enables off-site pathology experts to receive and review the digital screens via LabVantage Medical Suite’s conferencing tool, to better contribute to diagnosis and treatment decisions. For in-house pathologists, the LIS also facilitates multidisciplinary medical rounds. Should a patient be facing a cancer recurrence, LabVantage Medical Suite makes it fast and easy to locate and share the patient’s historical data while complying with privacy regulations. This efficient process enables rapid comparison with the new case.
This digital pathology, in use for histology at all the hospitals’ labs, not only delivers better data, faster, but also offers ergonomic benefits for the pathologists. Rather than bending over microscopes to view slides and shifting focus to computer screens for data entry, staff are able to view larger, clearer images on high resolution monitors or tablets.
Enabling Advances in Molecular Genetics
Whole slide imaging and digital pathology offer just one example of growing opportunities in laboratory science. Another significant trend is molecular diagnostics or molecular genetics. While this field still requires some degree of specialized equipment, exploding demand for this type of testing makes it more and more appealing for hospitals and smaller labs to bring this capability in house.
Ordinary LIS solutions can’t accommodate the needs of this type of testing. Today you may be able to input simple results, but you can’t host full PCR testing, pool information, or perform other necessary types of sampling.
For example, your lab may receive a gross specimen for analysis, such as a tumor. After macro pictures are taken, the sample is placed into a paraffin cassette, sliced into thin layers, stained and scanned. In the past, you’d have to examine these layers using a microscope, but today every single layer can be digitized.
Instead of examining multiple slides in a binocular microscope, pathologists can use LabVantage LIS to enlarge the sample on a screen, move through the sample almost in three dimensions, and zoom in on tiny areas for further review. This opens up the future possibility of using AI and machine learning to pinpoint key areas for the pathologist to examine first – automatically “floating” them to the surface.
True Digital Integration Makes a Difference
The all-in-one, workflow-driven design of LabVantage LIS enables significant workflow improvement by enabling faster reviews of patient images and information. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a demonstration.