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16 May 2023

Why there soon won’t be a difference between a LIS and a LIMS

A data-centric approach to laboratory information management systems

Eric Dingfelder

Senior Vice President, Scientific & Safety

Eric Dingfelder


Eric heads the global LIMS/LIS strategy for Clinisys, ensuring the products meet today’s challenges and evolve to advance laboratory technology for the future.

The difference between LIS and LIMS has been clear, until now. Where clinical laboratories use an LIS, environmental laboratories use a LIMS. Simple, right? Not exactly, because the lines between LIS and LIMS have blurred, and with good reason.

An LIS versus a LIMS

Historically, an LIS, or Laboratory Information System, is a patient-centric informatics system for use in forensic, hospital, and other clinical laboratory settings. In an LIS, data is ultimately tied to a patient or subject. The LIS tracks a clinical sample for testing through requisite workflows and associates the results with an individual patient.

In a LIMS, or Laboratory Information Management System, data is tied to a sample, specimen, or batch on the principle of sample-centric workflows. Environmental and agricultural laboratories, as well as some pharmaceutical and petrochemical laboratories, use this sample-centric workflow in a LIMS. Samples, specimens, or batches are the principal fields that link sampling notes (i.e., GPS data, depth, weather, temperature, viscosity, sampling time periods, etc.) to corresponding analytical laboratory data.

The debate between LIS versus LIMS has existed since the original database structures were established decades ago. However, in today’s world, laboratories should not have to choose a LIMS or LIS but simply select a laboratory platform that best fits their needs. The Clinisys Laboratory Solutions™ architecture and data model was developed over more than three decades, working directly with various laboratory sectors.

At Clinisys, our goal is to put to rest the LIMS versus LIS debate by offering a platform that natively embraces the required laboratory workflows into one, succinct system, allowing laboratories to maximize data integration and interoperability while having a system conform to their workflows, no longer requiring workflows to fit the mandates of a more limited LIS or LIMS. 

LIS or LIMS decisions are becoming data system selections

Laboratories with a data-centric approach to laboratory information management systems have an enterprise IT strategy focused on extracting, analyzing, and using operational as well as analytical data to deliver faster test results to anywhere. Through their operational data, data-centric laboratories are seeking opportunities for operational gains through greater process automation, new partnerships and collaborations, new products and services, flattened supply chains, and improved financials.

Through their analytical data, data-centric laboratories are committed to providing their customers with high-quality results, but also to connecting, integrating, and sharing their analytical data for research and study. They are prepared to contribute to our collective knowledge about the complex relationships between environmental factors and human health.

The data-centric Clinisys solution

Drawing on the experience of serving the laboratory information technology needs of clinical as well as environmental customers, Clinisys now leads the development of a complete bridge to the LIS-LIMS gap. With Clinisys Laboratory Solutions, we have developed a fully data-centric laboratory informatics system that embraces the strengths of both patient-centric and sample-centric laboratory management workflows, without the traditional limitations.

Utilising extensive configuration capabilities, Clinisys Laboratory Solutions perfectly fit patient-centric requirements, sample-centric requirements, or both. As with public health laboratories, many laboratories need a single data-centric solution that is equally agile for both lines of testing.

Clinisys Laboratory Solutions, enabled by a microservices-based architecture, make all captured data available to a data analytics hub. It is this uninhibited, yet protected, utilization of data that delivers on the functional necessities and unlocks infinite analytics potential.

From decades-old arguments about the virtues of LIS vs. LIMS workflows, the virtues that Clinisys embraced were logically the virtues of both, realigned to be data-centric to bypass the potential downsides of each. Clinisys Laboratory Solutions deliver data-centricity as the next step in laboratory informatics.

Start a conversation with us about Clinisys Laboratory Solutions and how we can help your laboratory build competitive advantage and support scientific progress in your operational and analytical data.

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