Laboratory information system data extraction and re-use: opportunities and challenges

Christopher R. McCudden, Matthew P. A. Henderson


Laboratory information systems (LISs) are a rich source of data. LIS data can be used for numerous purposes including operations, quality projects, and research. LIS data can inform decision making, provide value additions, and ultimately be used to improve patient care. However, there are many challenges that come with LIS data re-use. These include security, access to information, the ability to analyze large volumes of data, data quality, and validation. Herein we describe the pros and cons of LIS data re-use and provide a framework for a typical LIS data extraction. Also provided are concrete examples where LIS data was essential and beneficial for a successful project. Collectively, laboratorians need to focus on training initiatives to empower future staff who will require these skills to do their jobs effectively. Laboratorians should also ask more of the LIS vendors in terms of data access and analytical tools.