Like other healthcare segments, diagnostic services are also witnessing major disruptions due to the intervention of Internet & other digital tools. The adoption of a cloud-based LIMS like LiveHealth has enabled Lab World Plus to not only offer services seamlessly, but also provide data to track grey & business opportunity areas, shares Dr Sandeep Porwal, MBBS, MD (Pathology), Managing Director, Lab World Plus Health Diagnostic Services Pvt Ltd with Elets News Network (ENN)
Tell us about Lab World Plus. How do you see your growth and how does information technology (IT) contribute to it?
Lab World Plus is unique and state-of-the-art referral pathology laboratory conceptualised, owned and managed by a group of qualified pathologists and microbiologists. We are focused towards minimising lifestyle diseases with advanced diagnostic services and empowering doctors with fast and accurate diagnostics, helping the speedy recovery of the patients. IT plays a very vital role in such kind of laboratory where it helps to reduce errors and turnaround time by unique barcoding and bidirectional interfacing. Remote centre connectivity and mobile-based application are a value addition.
As a healthcare provider, what are the key challenges you are facing in the healthcare delivery and patient care?
Laboratory tests play an important role in the patient-centric healthcare delivery. Physicians rely on accurate and timely laboratory test results for the diagnosis of diseases and guiding the treatment. Maintaining consistent accuracy and minimising the turnaround time are always the key challenges. Most of the times, preanalytical errors result in unnecessary testing; thus, leading to additional financial burdens on the patient and/or the healthcare provider. Preanalytical errors are inevitable, but minimising them is a key challenge. As a business, it becomes vital to record every transaction and communication to deliver the best experience to your customers. Besides monitoring of business resources, operations, referral relations, marketing, finance, inventory, etc. is required to ensure efficiency at the operational level. With so much data and information being generated daily, managing, monitoring and effectively controlling the management information is a challenge.
Whats the role of IT in meeting these challenges?
IT as a tool has enabled solutions to meet most of the above challenges. The laboratory information management system (LIMS) software helps you to effectively manage the operations of your labs. Using the LIMS software you can automate workflows, integrate the instruments, and manage samples and associated information. Besides reducing manual errors through automation and interfacing, some good software help you minimise the turnaround time. Most of these software’s are stand-alone systems and track almost every transaction and event in the testing process and serve as a good management information system (MIS). Moving further, you can now reap the benefits of advanced technologies like cloud and mobile. The total testing process right from the registration of patient, to sample collection, sample accession, processing, verification, approval to the delivery of reports can be managed from multiple locations on a remote cloud server, in a seamless way. Test reports can be instantly delivered to the patients and their referral physicians via mobile app.
What were your concerns with respect to purchasing a comprehensive IT solution for your diagnostic centre?
As we are healthcare providers, we always wanted to stay focused on healthcare delivery rather than develop and manage an IT solution for ourselves. While we were convinced to outsource IT overhead to an agency, we made sure that we hire an expert team in the domain who will work closely with us, understands our workflow and provides a solution exactly meeting our requirements. We ensured that once the solution is deployed, our solution provider promptly responds to our queries and provides timely support.
What are the outcomes you expect in terms of optimising your operations and increasing the revenue? How do you see technology making a difference to achieve these outcomes?
We have deployed LiveHealth – a cloud-based, mobile-ready solution for laboratory management. Our software solution serves as the central hub for all our stakeholders and operational a c t i v i t i e s . Everyone – right from patients, staff, technicians, collection centres, and consulting and referral doctors – have to go through this solution for every activity associated with our operations. This helps us track every activity of all our stakeholders and optimise our operations. We get data and insights from this solution that enables us to track our potential sources of revenue and we can capitalise on that. This surely wouldn’t have been possible with a stand-alone software system, cloud is definitely an enabler.
|IT & Other Advanced Technologies – Key Takeaways|
|Reduce errors & turnaround time by unique barcoding and bidirectional interfacing in a lab
Reduce manual errors through automation & interfacing
Enable tracking of every transaction & event in the testing process
Allow management of multiple tasks from multiple locations
Enable instant delivery of test reports to patients & their referral doctors
Better tools to connect with people
Do you think you were able to reduce the number of human errors by interfacing your medical devices with your LIMS?
We were definitely able to reduce the number of human errors. As managing skilled human resources and training them to maintain accuracy in testing has always been a challenge for laboratories, we wanted to address this challenge through an effective solution like interfacing. After implementing unique barcoding and bidirectional interfacing, we have observed a remarkable outcome in the accuracy of our testing.
Have you witnessed any difference in the turnaround time by using cloud service provider? How does it benefit from a stand-alone system?
As mentioned earlier, a cloud-based solution surely has advantages over a stand-alone system. We would not have been able to integrate all our stakeholders and our operations at different locations using a standalone system. LiveHealth being a cloud-based solution has considerably minimised the turnaround time by enabling patient registration right at the point of sample collection, approval by consulting doctors via mobile app and automated delivery of reports to patients on mobile as soon as they are verified and approved.
Do you think technology can help you better understand your patient needs (e.g. a mobile app or other things)? Has it enabled you to achieve high quality patient care?
We always believe that healthcare should be patient-centric. The active involvement of patients in managing their healthcare has delivered better outcomes. Mobile app has emerged as an effective tool to connect and engage with your patients. We deliver the medical reports to the patients on a mobile app configured to our lab management solution, thus enabling them to manage their health records and track their health, anywhere, anytime. Their test reports are linked to information repository in the app where they can know and educate themselves about the tests performed. Informed patients always lead to better patient outcomes.
|Advantages of Cloud- Based Laboratory Management Solutions|
Serves as the central hub for all our stakeholders & operational activities
All stakeholders need to go through this solution for every operation-related activity
Offers data & insights to track potential sources of revenue
|Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) “ Key Takeaways|
Effective management of lab operations
Automation of workflows
Integration of instruments
Management of samples & associated information
|Laboratory Tests “ Key Challenges|
Maintaining consistent accuracy
Minimising turnaround time
Reducing pre-analytical errors to avoid unnecessary testing
Do you think technology will be a key differentiator for diagnostic centres in the future?
Like many other areas of healthcare delivery, diagnostic services are experiencing an IT revolution. Diagnostic centres keeping pace with emerging IT have found new, more efficient ways to communicate and provide services; educate themselves, their staff and their clients; market their products; and manage data and information. With Internet becoming the primary means of communication, test requests and test results will be communicated electronically. IT has created new marketplace and advertising opportunities for the diagnostics. Increased patient education and empowerment, new testing techniques that are simple enough for home sample collection and IT have combined to create a new direct-to-consumer marketplace for diagnostic testing. Collecting and analysing patient outcome data may become more essential in the marketing of diagnostic services and IT will be the key enabler for storage and processing of data. Besides, automation has been, and promises to continue to be, an important force in the changing laboratory marketplace.