Integrating LIMS with Health Information Systems

by Rod Olafson on March 17, 2015 in Uncategorized
Electronic Medical Records - Clarity LIMS Integration

At GenoLogics, we are single-mindedly focused on supporting –omics in the advancement of healthcare. However, as the head of development, I can tell you that there is nothing single-minded about how we develop BaseSpace Clarity LIMS, our laboratory informatics solution. We take a comprehensive approach to development based on interactions with partners, customers, and luminaries in the field of –omics and next generation sequencing. Customers experience this approach when they need to implement a new instrument in the lab and discover that BaseSpace Clarity LIMS has preconfigured workflows for that instrument. Or when they need to implement an entirely new workflow and they can build it from scratch without developer support in under an hour. But the integration doesn’t stop at instruments and workflows:  through use of our application programming interface (API), customers can integrate with other systems, such as electronic medical records (EMR) or Health Information Systems (HIS). In this blog, I want to tell you about our approach to integrating with systems used in healthcare settings.

Undeniably, our healthcare systems rely on a number of different enterprise applications to support the care process. A typical hospital, for example, can use over 100 different systems corresponding to different areas of the hospital, such as pharmacy, radiology, ultrasound, pathology, genetics, and so forth.1 Many of these systems must work in concert to provide information when it is needed so that providers can deliver care. Wouldn’t it be nice if a clinician could log onto his or her EMR, order a specialized genetic test to help guide a cancer patient’s treatment, and initiate the process directly in the genetic lab’s LIMS without having to make a set of phone calls or log onto an entirely separate system?  

But when patient data and clinical information reside in disparate systems that all have different methods of acquiring and storing data, getting them to work in concert is easier said than done. For genomics labs, the difficulty translates into integrating their primary lab software, such as a LIMS, with other systems in the healthcare setting. We enable BaseSpace Clarity LIMS to integrate with these systems through one of our development partners using HL7.

HL7 is a set of standards that are used worldwide for enabling communication between hospital information systems. Put simply, HL7 is a set of standards that enables two systems to exchange healthcare information. Today, the vast majority of healthcare systems are HL7 enabled.2

There are two different versions of HL7. Implementations and communication requirements vary significantly between applications that implement HL7, so it would be impossible to produce a single standard integration that addresses all combinations of version and implementation. Therefore, we provide several intra-operability scenarios to support a care setting’s environment:

Personalized, precision medicine is more plausible when genomics data are easy to assimilate into a healthcare setting. A good laboratory informatics solution should integrate with HIS to empower care.

For more information about integrating BaseSpace Clarity LIMS with HL7 systems, request our technical note.