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Anatomy of a successful LIS system

The daunting task of moving to a new LIS software can be challenging enough without considering switching your deployment model. However, the adoption of value-based health care has put laboratories under increased pressure to reduce costs, while improving operational efficiency and quality. Sourcing an agile, integrated and scalable laboratory information systems (LIS), is a key strategic decision for any laboratory.  Considering a software as a service (SaaS) model could hold the key to a competitive advantage, not only for its ease of deployment, flexible scalability, and increased ROI; but also as it better positions laboratories to take advantage of future developments in technology.

What is a SaaS model?

There is no question that IT is moving to the cloud. According to Gartner, moving forward the cloud will become the prevalent approach when it comes to IT sourcing. A SaaS model intelligently makes use of the cloud to allow users to purchase a service using on demand licensing. SaaS includes the multi-tenant concept, where customers purchase a typical model of a product from a single point, while still allowing for separation of access to data. SaaS is centrally hosted and so a major advantage is that it is available over the internet any time or any place.

For laboratories, choosing a SaaS version of an LIS product, moves the responsibility of its hosting, setup and continuous maintenance to the vendor. In most cases, and especially for small to medium sized laboratories, this significantly reduces cost. Apart from the initial setup and maintenance cost savings, and the relative simplicity of the model, there are many other advantages that a SaaS model can bring over a traditional on premise model:

Advantages of a SaaS LIS model

Time and cost – On premise solutions require significant capital expenditure – both upfront and in the long-run, on software upgrades, physical office space, power, and on IT resources for deployment and maintenance. A SaaS model provides lower costs to entry, and is less complex to deploy; it eliminates the need for servers onsite, power, and IT resources. Moreover, with a subscription model, the customer always receives an up to date version of the product. This is advantageous to labs of all sizes – smaller labs are able to remain competitive by having access to enterprise-grade software without the overhead fees, and larger laboratories do not need to burden IT with multi-site integrations, upgrades, and maintenance, allowing them to continue business as usual.

Stability, ease of access, and security – Instead of having to backup data on extra servers, with cloud models, the vendor backs up your data making it one less thing to worry about. Moreover, with cloud-based models security becomes the responsibility of the vendor, and SaaS vendors usually invest much more in security than small or medium sized businesses; this further helps reduce lab costs. Because SaaS utilizes cloud-based architecture, the system becomes available from wherever, whenever as long as there is internet. This is very useful for physicians and lab personnel working on-the-go or offsite.

Scalability – On premise systems often fail to provide the scalability that is necessary to remain competitive in today’s challenging economic environment. Many laboratories struggle with the costly decision of upgrading on premise systems; expanding is risky if economies of scale are not met. A SaaS model eliminates the risk factor when it comes to scaling, it offers agility and flexibility in scaling up and down as resources are paid for according to actual lab operational volume.

Looking to the future – In order to participate in leading technology, IOT for example, where billions of items are interconnected, laboratory software must be interoperable and aligned with the technologies where this is taking place – most of which is in the cloud. The future of cloud-based technology is unlimited, and as trends in the laboratory are moving towards patient-centered care, collaboration, and making use of big data, a cloud system offers a more connected model, allowing the opportunity for harnessing and collaborating on the latest developments in healthcare and laboratory technology.

Important Considerations

However, as with all new technologies, it is important to understand the benefits and trade-offs before making a decision. Improvements in laboratory efficiency and innovation may come at a trade-off. As a lab expands, more compute resources are needed, which can be more expensive than an on premise model. There is also the psychological factor of ‘letting go’ of crucial business operations, to become dependent on a vendor and a 3rd party cloud hosting provider.

Expertise as a winning strategy

By choosing a SaaS version of LabOS –  the only end-to-end LIS in the market, laboratories receive a best practice LIS product including support and hosting as one service on the cloud. LabOS is modular, making it cost effective as laboratories can choose only the modules they need while enjoying the benefits of having all laboratory IT needs in one system. For extra privacy and security, LabOS does not store different labs’ data in the same place. LabOS is a fully HIPAA compliant, secure LIS system with full end-to-end SSL based encryption. For more information on our SaaS LIS talk with one of our team now.

What is your opinion of a SaaS over an on premise LIS product? Let us know in the comments section below:

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