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J Pathol Inform. 2018 Jun 25;9:24. doi: 10.4103/jpi.jpi_21_18. eCollection 2018.

Interfacing Complex Laboratory Instruments during a Change to Epic Beaker.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.
2
Stanford Health Care, Laboratory Systems and Services, Palo Alto, CA, USA.

Abstract

Background:

Implementing a laboratory-developed test sometimes requires incorporating an unconventional device into the laboratory information system (LIS) and customizing an interface to reduce transcription error and improve turnaround time. Such a custom interface is a necessity for complicated high-volume tests such as 25-OH Vitamin D by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) when there is no vendor-or LIS-supplied interface available. Here, we describe our work and experience interfacing a API 5000 LC-MS/MS instrument with our newly implemented LIS, Epic Beaker, using a combination of in-house scripting software and a middleware vendor, Data Innovations.

Materials and Methods:

For input interfacing, custom scripting software was developed to transcribe batched order lists generated by Epic into files usable by the instrument software, Analyst®. For output interfacing, results from the LC-MS/MS system were fed to a unidirectional instrument driver made by Data Innovations and selected data were transferred to the LIS.

Results:

Creation and validation of a new driver by Data Innovations took approximately 6 months. The interface was adopted for 25-OH Vitamin D and testosterone testing during periods of increasing test volume (4.5-fold over 8 years and 1.25-fold over 5 years). The amount of time spent reporting 25-OH Vitamin D results decreased 82% per order resulting in a savings of 1370 technician work hours and the amount of time spent reporting testosterone results decreased 75% per order resulting in a savings of 400 technician work hours.

Conclusions:

A mixed model using custom scripting and curated commercial middleware serve as a durable interface solution for laboratory instrumentation such as an LC-MS/MS and are flexible to future changes in instrument software, networking protocols, and the scope of LISs and work area managers.

KEYWORDS:

Beaker; Data Innovations; interface; middleware

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