Computer Systems - AP / LIS
Implementation and Management of an APLIS
Author: Michael Mihalik (see Authors page)
Revised: 21 May 2015, last major update May 2015
Copyright: (c) 2015, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.
- The implementation and management of an APLIS is vitally important to your organization. It is a task that never ends.
- The APLIS touches the daily lives of every person in your organization. To implement and manage this system effectively, one must put mechanisms into place that will communicate and work with the entire organization.
- Every APLIS vendor has some version of a 'cookbook' to guide the laboratory with implementation. Many tasks will have to be completed and communication and understanding your laboratory's specific workflow is essential, which is why the most important aspect of implementing and managing an APLIS is selection of a system administrator.
Selection of a System Administrator
- The System Administrator coordinates the efforts of each laboratory member and is the voice of the laboratory in communications with the vendor.
- Must be an excellent communicator and have the ability to understand and communicate minute details of your laboratory.
- Although many organizations are tempted to use an individual with IT experience, a laboratorian or secretary with excellent communication skills and laboratory workflow knowledge may be preferable, because it is generally easier to understand the logic of a computer system than to maneuver the vagaries of human interactions
- It is critical to map out your current workflow for ALL scenarios and project this workflow onto the new APLIS - the last thing you want are surprises. Even if there has to be a manual workaround, it is far better to go into the first day of a new APLIS with known issues than unknown surprises.
- Once your APLIS is up and running, you're not done - you are just beginning. Your System Administrator will be busy with:
- Management or Data Reports
- Instrument Interfaces
- EMR or laboratory interfaces
- Regulatory changes
- Workflow changes
- Version Upgrades
- You have just purchased an APLIS and it manages your workflow well, but how well? That's where management or data reports come in. On a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, there is a constant demand for the information that only the APLIS can provide. Without this information, the laboratory is operating blindly.
- As technology evolves, there is more and more reason to interface instrumentation and of course, EMRs and laboratories. The APLIS can send demographics and orders to stainers, receive orders from EMRs and send results to EMRs. It can additionally send orders to sendout laboratories and receive results. APLIS software can be used to speed and enhance all of this interaction. The software comes with more than a financial price and that is the requirement to validate and test each of these functional modules. In larger organizations, whole departments are dedicated to interface validation.
- Perhaps not on a daily basis, but more often than one would think, there are workflow and regulatory changes that require a reconfiguration and validation of the existing workflow. These changes can affect the workflow of one or many people and all of it needs to be envisioned, tested, and implemented.
- Depending on your organization's desire to obtain the vendor's latest offerings, the need to update the entire APLIS must be addressed. This effort can be quite significant depending on the number of changes in the APLIS. This is generally a multiple month process.
- A good APLIS can enhance the productivity and efficiency of any laboratory, but poor implementation and management can wreck the best efforts of all parties. Pay attention to the initial and ongoing efforts required of this effort and your organization will reap the rewards for years to come. Just keep in mind, the effort never ends.
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