Laboratory Information Systems in Molecular Diagnostics: Why Molecular Diagnostics Data are Different

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Abstract

Molecular diagnostic testing presents new challenges to information management that are yet to be sufficiently addressed by currently available information systems for the molecular laboratory. These challenges relate to unique aspects of molecular genetic testing: molecular test ordering, informed consent issues, diverse specimen types that encompass the full breadth of specimens handled by traditional anatomic and clinical pathology information systems, data structures and data elements specific to molecular testing, varied testing workflows and protocols, diverse instrument outputs, unique needs and requirements of molecular test reporting, and nuances related to the dissemination of molecular pathology test reports. By satisfactorily addressing these needs in molecular test data management, a laboratory information system designed for the unique needs of molecular diagnostics presents a compelling reason to migrate away from the current paper and spreadsheet information management that many molecular laboratories currently use. This paper reviews the issues and challenges of information management in the molecular diagnostics laboratory.

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