True Plug and Play

IVD analyzers and IT systems interface

By Jean G. Rhame, MS

The IVD Industry Connectivity Consortium (IICC, www.ivdconnectivity.org) working with a number of other standard organizations has developed a long overdue global plug-n-play interface standard that connects IVD analyzers to IT systems. The group is now encouraging adoption of the standard which is designed to improve quality and reduce costs.

Clinical laboratories have faced a plethora of challenges in establishing and maintaining interfaces.  They often require time consuming customization, costly maintenance and have the potential to introduce errors, many of which are difficult to trouble shoot. The problem has been compounded as the number of interfaces required in the clinical laboratory has increased due to government regulations such as Meaningful Use and widening network needs. To address this, the IICC has developed a Laboratory Analyzer Workflow (LAW), a global interface based on a common set of clinical laboratory communications. LAW implementation guide unambiguously defines communication protocols that have resulted in true plug-n-play interoperability among IVD analyzers and IT systems.

During a Connectathon last year in Bern, Switzerland, the interface was successfully validated by four IVD companies and three IT systems using a total of 129 LAW tests. Since the Connectathon, the IICC has been refining LAW and encouraging its adoption by additional companies in an effort to simplify connectivity in the clinical laboratory and within the health care enterprise.

A few of the benefits of adopting LAW include error reduction, improved specimen throughput, improved data flow and reduced costs. According to Eric Olson, President of IICC and VP of Portfolio & Product Management at Siemens, "Streamlined connectivity is something that can only be achieved when leading IVD vendors and healthcare providers work toward a common goal. Working together, we have the power to simplify."

The IICC will be exhibiting at the AACC Annual Meeting in July where it will be conducting an interface demonstration among vendors.  Representatives will be available to discuss LAW in one-on-one sessions with attendees.  For scheduling a time to meet with an IICC representative or for additional information contact jrhame3@gmail.com.

The IICC is a global nonprofit organization founded in 2008 by industry leaders and the clinical laboratory community.  Its mission is to create and ensure the adoption of a unified connectivity standard.  The goal of developing a standard has been met and successfully demonstrated.  Now its adoption is being encouraged and a number of major IVD and IT companies are already on board.

Companies supporting the IICC efforts include Abbott Diagnostics, Beckman Coulter, BD, Data Innovations, Orchard Software, Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Roche Diagnostics, Siemens Healthcare and Systelab Technologies.

Jean G. Rhame serves as the IICC's chief marketing officer and previously was the director of Professional Affairs at AACC.

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