LII:Introduction to Laboratory Informatics

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Title: Introduction to Laboratory Informatics

Author for citation: CDC and the APHL

License for content: Open access

Publication date: October 2017

This is a collection of free online introductory laboratory informatics courses developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL). The first two courses follow the journey of a specimen through the laboratory and explores the generation and transmission of data and results within and outside of the laboratory. A third course on laboratory informatics systems is in development. Participants can earn Professional Acknowledgment for Continuing Education® (P.A.C.E.®) credits upon completion.

Course start page: CDC.gov

About the authors

The CDC is the national public health institute of the United States. It is also a federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Its main goal is to protect public health and safety through the control and prevention of disease, injury, and disability. The CDC focuses national attention on developing and applying disease control and prevention. It especially focuses its attention on infectious disease, food borne pathogens, environmental health, occupational safety and health, health promotion, injury prevention, and educational activities designed to improve the health of United States citizens. The CDC combats emerging diseases and other health risks, including birth defects, West Nile virus, avian influenza, swine influenza, pandemic flu, E. coli, and bioterrorism, to name a few. In addition, the CDC researches and provides information on non-infectious diseases such as obesity and diabetes and is a founding member of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes.

The APHL is a membership organization that focuses on providing resources to and promoting the importance of public health laboratories to national and global health. The organization works closely with not only public laboratories but also federal agencies and international entities to develop and implement regional and national health initiatives, as well as promote better access to diagnostic testing services. The APHL also lends its expertise to the development of laboratory informatics systems, training, policy, and research programs.

Part 1: Introduction to Laboratory Informatics: Life of a Specimen

Directly from the CDC website:

"Laboratory informatics is the specialized application of information technology to enable and enhance scientific processes and the delivery of laboratory information. It is a critical part of today’s laboratory operations, helping to ensure high quality and reliable data and results.

This basic-level eLearning course is the first of a two-part introductory module on laboratory informatics. The course provides information on the role and processes of laboratory informatics through exploration of the “life of a specimen” as a specimen moves through the laboratory. Topics covered include the roles of various personnel in the laboratory informatics enterprise, data relationships, data quality and standards, and the generation and flow of information as a specimen progresses through the pre-analytic, analytic, and post-analytic phases."

"At the conclusion of this webinar, the participant will be able to:

  • Recognize what laboratory informatics is and how it directly supports patient care and public health goals
  • Identify who plays a role in laboratory informatics and explain the purpose of each role
  • Identify the sequence of data and information flow within the laboratory from specimen collection/receipt to specimen storage/disposal
  • Recognize the importance of data quality and the factors that impact data quality
  • Identify the different types of data standards and the importance of using those standards
  • Define what a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) and Laboratory Information System (LIS) are, their capabilities, and how they differ from other systems used in the laboratory"

NOTE: The course is good for 2.0 P.A.C.E. credits. It is two hours long.

Course information and registration

PlayVideo.png The CDC page for this course can be found here. You can directly register for the course here: https://www.train.org/

Additional materials

PDF.png The brochure with information about this course can be found on the CDC site: Life of a Specimen brochure

Part 2: Introduction to Laboratory Informatics: Life of a Result

Directly from the CDC website:

"Laboratory informatics is the specialized application of information technology to enable and enhance scientific processes and the delivery of laboratory information. It is a critical part of today’s laboratory operations, helping to ensure high quality and reliable data and results.

This basic-level eLearning course is the second of a two-part introductory module on laboratory informatics. The course provides information on the role and processes of laboratory informatics through exploration of the “life of a result” as data and results move through the laboratory and outside the laboratory. Topics covered include characterization of the recipients of laboratory data, data and results storage, and the communication of data and results (especially electronically) to various stakeholders."

"At the conclusion of this course, the participant will be able to:

  • Identify where and how data and results are stored inside the laboratory
  • Recognize how data and results are transmitted inside and outside the laboratory to stakeholders
  • Identify two paths that data and results can follow to impact the health of individual patients and the public
  • Recognize how the proper recording, coding, storage, and transmission of data and results can impact patient care and public health
  • Identify what data standards are used, their purpose, and components involved
  • Explain what Electronic Test Orders and Results (ETOR), Electronic Laboratory Reporting (ELR) and Electronic Health Record (EHR) are and how they differ"

NOTE: The course is good for 2.0 P.A.C.E. credits. It is two hours long.

Course information and registration

PlayVideo.png The CDC page for this course can be found here. You can directly register for the course here: https://www.train.org/

Additional materials

PDF.png The brochure with information about this course can be found on the CDC site: Life of a Result brochure

Part 3: Introduction to Laboratory Informatics: Laboratory Informatics Systems

The CDC and APHL have indicated " a third course on laboratory information management systems and other information systems" is in the works.