In a recent post, I suggested that the term specialized lab software (SLS) should be substituted for the best-of-breed LIS label in order to provide more LIS market differentiation (see: Time to Abandon the Best-of-Breed LIS Label; Emergence of Specialized Lab Software Vendors). I cited Sunquest Information Systems as an example of a vendor with a very specialized set of products from its Data Innovations, Atlas Medical, and GeneInsight subdivisions that its competitors sometimes cannot match and even require as part of their own products.
I now want to now extend this idea and suggest that some of the current SLS vendors (e.g., LIS, RIS, PACS, and IVD companies) should consider organizing a business consortium to provide what I will refer to here as an integrated diagnostic solution (IDS) to hospitals. This would then allow these diagnostic software companies to more successfully compete with vendors of enterprise wide solutions (EWS) that include their own LISs and RISs. Epic is one example of such a vendor with its Beaker and Radiant lines.
In order to understand the advantages of an integrated diagnostic solution (IDS), we need to consider the appeal in the eyes of hospital executives of an enterprise-wide solution (EWS). Much of it revolves around the fact that all of its modules are integrated by the vendor and write to a single database. This means that the previous burden of interfacing various "foreign" departmental systems with the EH'R does not fall on the shoulders of the hospital CIO. Thus, one way in which the various specialized lab software (SLS) vendors could compete more successfully with EWS vendors would be for them to offer a "shrink-wrapped" integrated diagnostic product.
Let me cite only one example of such an integrated diagnostic solution -- a combined LIS/RIS/enterprise image server ito replace a PACS server. The utility of such a server would extend beyond radiology to include pathology and the other major imaging specialty, cardiology. I don't want to minimize the complexity of offering an integrated diagnostic solution because pathology and radiology informatics have been on separate development trajectories for decades. However, not to pursue such a vision may be tantamount to ceding the entire IT market, including most diagnostics, to the EHR companies.