Journal of Pathology Informatics Journal of Pathology Informatics
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 14

Development and implementation of an electronic interface for complex clinical laboratory instruments without a vendor-provided data transfer interface

Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Correspondence Address:
Gary E Blank
Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2153-3539.77176

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Background: Clinical pathology laboratories increasingly use complex instruments that incorporate chromatographic separation, e.g. liquid chromatography, with mass detection for rapid identification and quantification of biochemicals, biomolecules, or pharmaceuticals. Electronic data management for these instruments through interfaces with laboratory information systems (LIS) is not generally available from the instrument manufacturers or LIS vendors. Unavailability of a data management interface is a limiting factor in the use of these instruments in clinical laboratories where there is a demand for high-throughput assays with turn-around times that meet patient care needs. Materials and Methods: Professional society guidelines for design and transfer of data between instruments and LIS were used in the development and implementation of the interface. File transfer protocols and support utilities were written to facilitate transfer of information between the instruments and the LIS. An interface was created for liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectroscopy and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectroscopy instruments to manage data in the Sunquest® LIS. Results: Interface validation, implementation and data transfer fidelity as well as training of technologists for use of the interface was performed by the LIS group. The technologists were familiarized with the data verification process as a part of the data management protocol. The total time for the technologists for patient/control sample data entry, assay results data transfer, and results verification was reduced from approximately 20 s per sample to <1 s per sample. Sample identification, results data entry errors, and omissions were eliminated. There was electronic record of the technologist performing the assay runs and data management. Conclusions: Development of a data management interface for complex, chromatography instruments in clinical laboratories has resulted in rapid, accurate, verifiable information transfers between instruments and LIS. This has eliminated manual data entry that is prone to errors and enabled technologists to focus on analytical applications on the instruments.

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