The homegrown LIS cannot be extended, so I created a piece of Middleware (MW) to bridge the gap.
On the LIS side, the MW appears to be an automated analyzer, to which orders flow and from which results come.
On the Ref Lab side, the MW appears to be an industry-standard, up-to-date LIS, speaking HL7 over TCP/IP.
It all works like a charm:
- A user of the homegrown LIS places an order for a send out
- The MW detects the order as if it were an instrument
- The MW stores the order in its database
- The MW creates an HL7 order for the appropriate ref lab
- The MW sends the HL7 order on its way
- The Ref Lab interface receives the order
- The Ref Lab interface sends a result
- The MW receives the result and updates its database
- The MW creates a message to tell the homegrown LIS the result
- Any user of the homegrown LIS can see the result
The MW has three components: a database, a TCP/IP client to send orders and a TCP/IP sever to receive results.
The database allows for various automatically generated management reports and tracking of activity and back up of the received results.