Experts Predict Shortage of Clinical Laboratory Labor Will Create Need for More Sophisticated Laboratory Information Systems
Recent reports show why labs need more robust laboratory information systems (LIS), including a shrinking workforce, new requirements to connect to EMRs in hospitals and physicians’ offices, and the development of health information exchanges.
Clinical laboratories nationwide are realizing they need new and more powerful laboratory information systems (LIS) as they seek to process larger volumes of medical laboratory tests with a shrinking number of medical technologists and clinical laboratory scientists.
In response to the critical shortages of MTs, CLSs, and other laboratory scientists, most clinical laboratories are beefing up automation in all areas of the lab. From the high-volume core chemistry/hematology laboratory to microbiology and histology, laboratory automation systems are becoming ubiquitous. But all this lab automation increases the need to use information technologies to manage both automation and the flow of specimens through the laboratory.
A report published earlier this year by Kalorama Information of Rockville, Maryland, actually links the shortage of skilled medical laboratory staff as one of the most important factors in fostering growth in the LIS market. Researchers estimated the size of the LIS market at $800 million and predicted that it would grow about 6% annually for the next few years.
As pathologists and clinical laboratory managers know, labor accounts for more than 60% of the cost of producing medical laboratory test results. The Kalorama report stated that laboratory automation and better information management systems can reduce the number of manual procedures and tasks in the typical medical laboratory, In turn, this helps optimize labor efficiency, said the report titled, Laboratory Information Systems (LIS / LIMS) Markets. (more…)