Notice B

Promoting the collaborative development of proposals for investments in digital health global goods

Notice B: Building an Open Source LIS Technologies Community of Practice

Primary Author: Jan Flowers

Laboratories are a pillar of any care, treatment, and prevention program and the data they generate are critical for clinical decision making,
disease screening, monitoring, blood safety and surveillance. Good laboratory practice (GLP) and standards-based laboratory accreditation
requires a laboratory to utilize a standardized system to collect, analyze, report, and store laboratory data. Electronic Laboratory Information
System (LIS) are software that are used to support good laboratory practice. LIS are a crucial component for the effective management and
operation of a clinical laboratory and the assurance of reliable and timely laboratory results. Data generated by these laboratories must be
shared throughout the enterprise health (eHealth) architecture, or the health information systems (HIS) ecosystem, that manages information in
a care, treatment, and prevention program.
Concerned with costs and ownership, many developing countries have increasingly looked to open source solutions for implementation within
their laboratory network. OpenELIS Global and BLIS have both been a common choice for implementation, but efforts across these programs
and countries have lacked coordination of design and development of the technologies. This has resulted in a milieu of forked code bases with
overlapping and duplicative functions and features, and an inability for collaboration or sharing across projects. In addition, much of the
interfacing with laboratory testing instruments has been specific for that implementation, and tightly coupled to its software. This results in an
intensive and burdensome process for additional or upgraded instruments to be added, and impossible to generalize for broader use. In a recent
assessment of these two technologies and their landscape, many developers and implementers expressed strong desire for this ability to
collaborate and share. In addition, Ministries of Health and laboratories expressed the need for a community of lab informatics experts to turn to
for additional support and sharing to strengthen their systems and implementations. Lastly, Ministries, donors, and implementers voiced the
recognized urgent need for integrating the LIS into the broader HIS ecosystem in order to truly achieve a higher quality health care, treatment,
and prevention program for their country.
This proposal aims to address those needs through the creation and coordination of an LIS community of practice to coordinate efforts on
several widely-used mature open source LIS products - OpenELIS Global, BLIS, Senaite (formerly Bika) an open source independent lab
instrument interface software called OpenLabConnect, and the integration of these technologies into the broader facility-level and upper-level
HIS ecosystem.

Application Status: 
Approved - partially funded