[Histonet] Adopting a bar code system

Michael Mihalik mike <@t> pathview.com
Thu Jun 21 13:57:31 CDT 2012

Teri, if you don't mind, I'd like to respond from the perspective of an LIS

I would propose that you need to think about what your objectives are when
implementing such a system, and then seek out those vendors who can best
help you to reach those goals.

Barcoding is a fairly straight forward and simple thing to do, but it can
open so many doors that it's hard to choose what doors to actually go down.

At its most simplistic representation, you're putting a barcode on the
requisition, specimen, block, and slide.  By doing so you give yourself the
POTENTIAL to records dates/times/userid of who handled what material at any
given time.  Once you know this information, you can identify bottlenecks in
your workflow and design more efficient workflows.

Your objectives come into play when you try to choose vendors to implement
the system.  For instance,

1.  What times/processes are you measuring?  Is it just the steps from
grossing to embedding to cutting to slide distribution?  I believe this is
what most people think of when they think of a 'bar code system', and  you
can find solutions from various LIS vendors and middleware products from
Leica, Ventana, Lablion, and more.
2.  Do you want to track other 'waypoints' in the process?  For instance,
into and out of strainers, processors, shipping, pathologist diagnosis,
3.  Do you want to turn tracking on and off?
4.  What management and statistical reports do you want to see?  You need to
keep in mind that it would be very nice to create your own reports in
addition to having access to standard reports because management is always
asking to look at the data from a different perspective.
5.  A key tangent of barcode tracking is the ability to log
alerts/commentary/quality issues.  Does the proposed tracking system provide
this capability?  How easy is it to see these notations?  Does the
pathologist need to see them?
6.  For laboratories who have to process cytology specimen, does the system
help you track paps, nongyns, etc.?

I could go on for quite a bit on this subject.  There are of course, the
real world issues of slide labels vs printing directly on slides, barcode
misreads, compatibility with instrumentations and so on.

If you'd like to talk more, please contact me offline.

Michael Mihalik
PathView Systems | cell: 214.733.7688 | 800.798.3540 | fax: 952.241.7369

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Teri Johnson
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2012 1:45 PM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] Adopting a bar code system

Hi Histonetters,

I am interested in hearing from folks who went from a manual histology
system to a barcoding system. I would like to look into to adopting bar
coding and want to know the pitfalls, issues, and your successes in doing


Teri Johnson, HT(ASCP)QIHC
GNF Histology Lab Manager
Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation

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