Healthcare

Architecture and Technology

Architecture and Technology

Any software application is product of the technology used and its design/architecture. This is the core that determines its functionality, reliability, integration capabilities, scalability, ease of use and ultimately its usefulness. Additionally, it is important if you ever want to make code-level changes. A poor design and/or a little-used or inadequate coding language make changes difficult and expensive.[1]

Design considerations (from Wikipedia)

There are many aspects to consider in the design of a piece of software. The importance of each should reflect the goals the software is trying to achieve. Some of these aspects are:

  • Compatibility – The software is able to operate with other products that are designed for interoperability with another product. For example, a piece of software may be backward-compatible with an older version of itself.
  • Extensibility – New capabilities can be added to the software without major changes to the underlying architecture.
  • Fault-tolerance – The software is resistant to and able to recover from component failure.
  • Maintainability – A measure of how easily bug fixes or functional modifications can be accomplished. High maintainability can be the product of modularity and extensibility.
  • Modularity – the resulting software comprises well defined, independent components which leads to better maintainability. The components could be then implemented and tested in isolation before being integrated to form a desired software system. This allows division of work in a software development project.
  • Reliability – The software is able to perform a required function under stated conditions for a specified period of time.
  • Reusability – the software is able to add further features and modification with slight or no modification.
  • Robustness – The software is able to operate under stress or tolerate unpredictable or invalid input. For example, it can be designed with a resilience to low memory conditions.
  • Security – The software is able to withstand hostile acts and influences.
  • Usability – The software user interface must be usable for its target user/audience. Default values for the parameters must be chosen so that they are a good choice for the majority of the users.[2]
  • Performance – The software performs its tasks within a user-acceptable time. The software does not consume too much memory.
  • Portability – The usability of the same software in different environments.
  • Scalability – The software adapts well to increasing data or number of users.[3]

For the Physician Office Lab, the characteristics listed above may be less or more important than for other businesses. For instance, Portability is probably not a main concern, since its use is most likely confined to the lab. The other characteristics are factors to be considered by the user/purchaser when assessing an LIS, based on their own unique situation and priorities.

The User Requirement Specifications here address the Physician Office Laboratory Information System’s system architecture and technology characteristics with these considerations in mind, with reference to any applicable clinical or lab compliance standards. The Application Functional Descriptions describe how HealthCloudPOL meets these specifications.

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Technical Overview

WebLIMS is a secure cloud-hosted application. It is accessed over the Internet and can be used by many individuals simultaneously, either within a site or from anywhere in the world. Access is controlled according to privileges associated with a login ID and password, with encryption ensuring data are protected to ensure compliance with HIPAA, CLIA, ASCLD, FDA and other standards relating to data security.

The LIMS/LIS follows the web browser model in that the application processing occurs primarily on the application and database server(s), and the user’s computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device (client) really just provides a window through which the user can view or edit information and operate the system using a standard browser. Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 and later is completely supported, along with Chrome, Safari and Firefox (depending on version, settings etc.).

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Since the work is really done on the server, minimal bandwidth is required. This provides significant advantages over both traditional client-server applications and distributed applications. Even a cell phone “hot spot” card is sufficient to work from. Also, most laboratory personnel today have a good deal of exposure to the Internet and the use of a web browser application, so it is familiar and user-friendly.

Its user-friendliness and flexibility are by design. This is expressed in the Laboratory Informatics Institute’s LIMSpec LIMS and LIS user requirements Specification POL P0011 Easy registration/accession, and in some of the other standards to which it relates.

Since webLIMS.com is a cloud-hosted app, it doesn’t matter to the user about what database it uses (SQL Server) or the server environment. LabLynx, Inc. guarantees 99.9% uptime to its cloud-hosted customers, and boasts the finest cloud infrastructure in the laboratory informatics industry, fully SSAE SOC Type 2 and TIA-942 compliant (see SaaS and Cloud Hosting). LabLynx has employed the finest design and technology, as a long-time leader in web-based informatics, so that you can simply use your LIMS/LIS without having to worry about technical implementation and server/database infrastructure and maintenance. That leaves you free to focus on what you do best.

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LabLynx webLIMS for Clinical Laboratories is far more than just an LIS. It is a complete comprehensive platform of features and benefits tailored for you and your clinical lab. It contains all of the features and functions you need for your lab’s operations. But there are also a number of additional feature and function plug-ins available to be added to your system, including integration with other systems or devices/instruments, and/or other modules. LabLynx even offers Hardware Add-Ons that include lab equipment/devices like instruments as well as label printers, scanners, etc. and IT hardware like PCs, hubs, cabling and more.

Any of these can be chosen as Implementation Options, available either initially or at any time thereafter. Choose from among them to define what you want now, and for the short, medium and long term, or decide to add on to your system whenever you like. Just let us know.

In a real sense all implementation and plugins are services, because where a feature or function exists it costs only to activate or configure it. Where it doesn’t, it costs to develop it. All services are listed and discussed in the Services and Implementation Options sections of the webLIMS for Clinical Manual.

The exception to that is Hardware and Supplies, which are available through our LIMSforum Marketplace.

Your webLIMS benefits include the options to add any of a range of additional features and functions, through plugins. These items let you grow your system in modular fashion so you can add what you want when you want, in your own time and budget. The LabLynx webLIMS for Clinical Laboratories is a complete LIS on its own, but also gives you the ability to scale up and out as you grow your lab’s offerings, or as you progressively increase automation to save time and money while increasing productivity and quality – and ensuring compliance. Plug-ins make it simple, quick and affordable.

To include plugins or hardware add-ons in your webLIMS solution package, either make your selections initially when talking to your LabLynx, Inc. representative, or you can submit them any time thereafter through the Help Desk.

Integration Plugins

WebLIMS can interface with anything that has an API. Or it can interface through file sharing. Basically, anything that can be interfaced can be interfaced to the LabLynx, Inc. webLIMS LIS, using our exclusive LabVia solution.

LabVia

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While the LabLynx LIMS and many of the other apps in the LabLynx and sciCloud.net® libraries readily share files with instruments and other systems, there are also situations where the integration required is more complex. For those we have LabVia, LabLynx’s exclusive middleware and hub hardware/software product, available through sciCloud.net® to manage your connections and data sharing.

LabVia intelligently manages multiple data communications between all kinds of devices, services, systems or other sources.

Use LabVia to connect with:

  • SDMS, MES, PLM, DMS, EHR/EMRs, PMS or other Systems/Software or Databases
  • LIMS or other Laboratory Information Systems

    LabVia Middleware Hub

  • Instruments
  • Field Devices, Mobile, Hand-held etc.
  • POC Devices
  • Billing Services
  • Regulatory/Reporting Agencies
  • Reference or Contract Labs
  • More…

LabVia is available as an option with all sciCloud.net® and LabLynx solutions. See the Editions and Pricing section of the LabLynx.com website.

LabVia Hub

The onsite part of the LabVia solution is the LabVia Hub. It is a hardware/software product that provides a central nexus point for all of the integrated nodes (instruments/devices, software applications etc.), intelligently managing their data. Full instructions on installation and setup are provided, and a LabLynx professional will guide you through the process. Or, if you prefer, we can come onsite and install it for you, ensuring all interfaced data points communicate properly. Many systems need only be able to provide files that your sciCloud.net® Solution can access to process and report, and/or be able to receive sample information from the LIMS. If serial connections are required, then a LabVia channel is utilized, and your hub will link up with the cloud-based software portion of LabVia to ensure perfect data routing and management.

LabVia Cloud

The cloud portion of LabVia is hosted for you in our Cloud Platform (IaaS), keeping your integrations securely managed in real time. And any time you need more integrations (e.g. you buy new instruments that you’d like to interface with your system), we can add a new channel for you that is configured to transfer the data you want, in the ways you want them.

You can forget about the details and concentrate on your own work, secure in the knowledge that your interfaces will continue functioning perfectly for as long as you have them. All maintenance, support and warranty is included in your annual agreement.

If you’d like more information about LabVia or you have questions about integration of your devices, services and/or applications, contact sciCloud.net® Support, search the Marketplace for qualified services or contact LabLynx at LabLynx Contact Us, or give us a call at 770.859.1992 or toll-free at 800.585.5969.

Report Plugins

LabLynx, Inc. has many other available report and/or label plugins besides those included with your standard LabLynx webLIMS for Clinical Laboratories solution.

These include both internal management reports, like Turnaround Time (TAT), Annual/Monthly Workload, Specimen Disposal, Training and Productivity reports, etc., as well as any custom formal reports with logo, header, etc. Specimen label sizes and designs can also be added to suit your needs.

Module Plugins

Portal

WebLIMS for Clinical works very well in conjunction with your existing patient portal. You can elect to integrate

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and pass order statuses and results reports so they may be viewed securely, as well as emailed alerts when they are ready, etc. If you don’t have an existing portal, choose the webLIMS Portal Plug-In and upgrade the patient experience while freeing you and your staff from answering phone enquiries and calling patients. The portal can also function as a web-based requesting platform, which can be useful for health organizations, reference labs, public health or hospitals.

Alerts

Alerts are useful. The webLIMS Alerts plug-in library includes email notifications based on events, like completed assays, completed entire orders, out-of-range results, impending expiration of specimens, reagents, matrices etc., or according to schedules (QC, calibrations, annual physicals, colonoscopies, mammograms or other regular assays, etc.).

Even re-certifications/training, conventions or any other item can be set to alert you so you stay on top of your schedules and work, even if they aren’t lab-related. Whether you simply need internal user alerts or notifications in conjunction with the Auto-Fax/Email plug-in, the LabLynx team will set up alerts for whatever needs you have.

Auto-Fax/Email

In the same way that Alerts can be generated based on events or schedules, results reports or other items can be set up to be faxed, displayed on a portal site or emailed to designated parties, using the webLIMS’ Auto-Fax/Email plug-in.

Invoicing

Invoicing based on assays, straight from the LIS, can be easily added to your capabilities with the webLIMS Invoicing Plug-In. Insurance companies, patient information and lab assay histories are all securely stored in your webLIMS for Clinical solution, and the Invoicing Plug-In pulls the appropriate data to ensure accurate and timely billing. Bill direct or integrate with a billing service – it’s up to you with webLIMS’s Invoicing Plug-In.

Data Warehouse

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It’s very useful to be able to pull any historical results and their associated information dynamically, according to immediate, ad hoc needs and criteria. The ‘Data Warehouse plug-in makes all historical data available to authorized users, who can filter for exactly what they are looking for, by date range, assay, patient, specimen type – any criteria.

You always have the archived reports. But if you want to compare or review a collection of data based on specific criteria, the Data Warehouse is the plug-in that will make it happen for you. And the data are exportable as an Excel file.

Training Tracking

Keep track of all certifications and their history, along with dates of next required courses etc. Make sure you aren’t at risk of being out of compliance by having expired certifications for any CLIA testing, or just generally keep track of training planning and completion.

The Training Tracking module plug-in keeps track of all of that for everyone, and lets you upload any certificates, etc. for handy access and reference. It can also be combined with the Alerts plug-in to issue reminders when it’s close to the time to re-certify or when upcoming training of any kind is due.

Storage Management

Beef up the included Inventory Management functions with the Storage Control plug-in. It allows you to create locations with hierarchies, like “Storage Room 2, Freezer 1, 3rd shelf”, etc., to keep track of exactly where any supplies or specimens are at any given time. Make sure you meet compliance standards by knowing where any and all devices, kits, reagents, specimens or other items are at any given time. You’ll want to combine this with the Object Tracker module plug-in, so you can document and track chain of custody by checking items in and out, transferring ‘ownership’ and documenting disposal.

Object Tracker

Object Tracker

This plug-in works with the Storage Management module plug-in to document and track all movements of designated items through the lab and anywhere else. Use it to manage Check-in, Check-out, Transfer and Disposition of items in all areas of your facilities and those sent out and returned (e.g. to reference labs), documenting all movement, date and time, and the identity of the user performing the actions.

Scheduling

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LabLynx, Inc. will add any scheduled events for you or show you how to create them, using the webLIMS Scheduling plug-in. Holding time alerts, password expiration notifications, training schedule notifications – any types of scheduled events you’d like to happen in the LIS (and send notifications about, using the Auto-Fax/Email and/or Alerts plugin) can be done.

Validation

The Validation Plugin module runs an automatic script and generates a report that will satisfy many regulatory compliance requirements for validation. Save thousands by using this great alternative to standard consultant-based validation projects.

Custom Plugins

Just because you don’t see a function or feature here doesn’t mean you can’t have it. LabLynx will custom-build any type of plug-in you want. Just submit a ticket to the Help Desk or contact us and our certified development professionals are at your service. Simply let us know what you want when you are defining your scope (see Requirements Checklist), or submit a request to the Help Desk at any time thereafter, and your system can be customized in any way you choose.

In Short

The LabLynx, Inc. HealthCloudPOL is an unprecedented free LIS (Basic Edition) built with the very best technologies, meeting the LIS Design Considerations, architectural, technical specifications and industry standards referenced in Specification POL S0010 System Design/Architecture Description and Documentation, with the ability to scale and expand functionality to meet most needs as the lab grows and changes in the Basic Edition, and to unlimited degree through the HealthCloudPOL Standard Edition subscription.

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HealthCloudPOL has zero requirements in regard to hardware or infrastructure, other than the ability to access the Internet! Access is controlled according to privileges associated with a login ID and password, with encryption ensuring data are protected to ensure compliance with HIPAA, CLIA and other applicable standards.

That means that instead of a complicated, slow, expensive planning, implementation and setup process, you get no-hassle, instant, easy-to-use LIS. There’s no maintenance to worry about, no need to replace expensive servers, update operating systems, etc. etc. You can get on with the business of healthcare, and manage your in-house testing results, producing instant, professional reports – all the while safe in the knowledge that you are meeting all Meaningful Use, HIPAA and CLIA requirements.

HealthCloudPOL is feature-rich, ensuring your POL has all of the functions you need in a modern, professional Laboratory Information System for the physician office lab. A comprehensive range of available Plugins ensures you will enjoy premium performance for many years, even as you take on additional assays, add instruments, integrate with your EHR and more.

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Notes

Individual Specifications were transcluded from limspecwiki

  1. “Software architecture”. Wikipedia: Software architecture. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_architecture. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  2. Carroll, ed., John (1995). Scenario-Based Design: Envisioning Work and Technology in System Development. New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471076597. 
  3. “Software Design Considerations”. Wikipedia: Software design. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_design#Design_considerations. Retrieved 29 July 2015.