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July 19, 2023

How to keep your genetic testing lab ahead of the curve

Genetic testing has revolutionized modern medicine by providing doctors and healthcare providers with powerful tools to diagnose diseases, assess risks, and develop personalized treatment plans. However, managing a genetic testing lab comes with unique challenges. 

Let’s explore the key challenges faced by genetic testing labs and discuss five essential steps to stay ahead of the competition. 

Challenges faced by genetic testing labs

1. Compliance: Genetic testing labs must navigate complex regulations, such as HIPAA and CLIA, to ensure the privacy and security of patient data. They need software solutions that are compliant with evolving regulatory requirements. HIPAA violations – even unintentional – can land labs penalties of up to $50,000. Even failing to notify patients and regulatory authorities of a breach will be considered intentional violations leading to hefty penalties. 

2. Communicating Results to Patients: Genetic testing results can be complex and require careful interpretation. Labs must effectively communicate risks to patients and help them understand their conditions, which demands significant resources.

3. Adapting to Evolving Technology and Patient Needs: With advancements in genetic testing technology, labs need to invest in new tests, procedures, and workflows. These changes often require capital investments and can disrupt existing operations.

4. Managing Data Effectively: Genetic testing labs generate large amounts of data that need to be securely stored and shared with other healthcare providers, while complying with privacy regulations.

5. Impact of COVID-19: The pandemic presented new challenges, forcing labs to modify their operations to accommodate COVID-19 testing while maintaining their usual patient flow. Genetic testing labs had to somehow manage their usual patient flow and tests along with the vast number of samples from patients suspected of COVID-19 infection. Labs were testing anywhere from 4,000 to 20,000 samples a day during the crisis.

The value of low-code LIMS solutions

To address these challenges and stay ahead in the field, genetic testing labs require modern Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) that offer the following capabilities:

1.. Compliance and Security: A robust LIMS should provide end-to-end compliance with applicable regulations, allowing labs to stay up to date with evolving requirements. It should also prioritize data privacy and security.

2. Easy Integration and Feature Expansion: Labs must choose LIMS solutions that allow for quick and cost-effective integration with other applications. Low-code solutions enable labs to add new features and adapt to changing conditions with minimal resources.

3. Process Automation: Automation is essential for efficient lab operations. LIMS should streamline workflows, automate result communication to patients and healthcare providers, and reduce the administrative burden on lab staff.

4. Seamless Integration with Existing Systems: Genetic testing labs often work with multiple applications and systems. LIMS should facilitate easy data exchange and prevent data silos by integrating smoothly with other software solutions.

5. Affordability: LIMS should be cost-effective and offer a strong return on investment. Labs of all sizes should be able to justify the expenses associated with acquiring, maintaining, and updating the system.

Streamline your operations with Slingr's low-code solution

Slingr is the first low-code LIMS solution that empowers genetic testing labs to streamline their operations, improve accessibility, and enhance patient care. For example, Visible Genomics, a genetics testing lab, used Slingr to manage their lab operations effectively.

With Slingr, Visible Genomics developed customized workflows, automated result generation, and enabled secure access to reports for patients and healthcare providers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they seamlessly integrated at-home testing kits into their workflow, ensuring uninterrupted services.

To stay competitive in the evolving field of genetic testing, labs must overcome compliance challenges, communicate results effectively, adapt to new technologies, manage data efficiently, and address the impact of crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Low-code LIMS solutions, such as Slingr, offer the flexibility and functionality labs need to thrive. By streamlining operations and enhancing accessibility, genetic testing labs can provide better care for their patients and position themselves as leaders in the industry.

Are you ready to take your genetic testing lab to the next level? Contact Slingr today to streamline your operations and improve patient care.