Laboratory information system data extraction and re-use: opportunities and challenges
Each day, laboratories generate thousands of results. This data is rich with analytical, patient demographic, physician order, temporal, and patient location information. Laboratory information system (LIS) data can be re-used for many purposes such as operations, quality, and research. LIS data can guide organizational decisions, help detect errors, improve reference intervals, and facilitate discovery of areas for quality improvement. However, LIS has largely been designed for one-way transactions, in the form to getting information in, rather than getting information out. As a result, there is an array of challenges in using LIS data. Challenges include access, extraction, analysis, and validation where it can be difficult to get, use, and harvest actionable information. This manuscript describes the rich opportunity that laboratory information provides as well as the dark side of acquiring and re-using data from LIS.