Tired of Hidden Charges from Your LIS Vendor?

One of the most common complaints from laboratory executives is hidden charges that they face from their LIS providers.   

In our recent LIS State of the Industry Survey, a common theme among respondents was the cost of their LIS and the unpredictable charges they often face.

Laboratory leaders routinely see unexpected charges for: 

  • Hardware/server upgrades 
  • Operating system upgrades
  • Security updates
  • Database upgrades 
  • LIS software updates 

Why Software as a Service (SaaS) is a good choice and how to make sure the system you select is a true SaaS-based LIS

Often lab leaders are told that they are purchasing a SaaS-based lab information system. A true SaaS-based LIS does not have charges for hardware or software upgrades. When researching laboratory information systems, there are a few essential questions to ask to ensure you are truly getting what you pay for.   

Do we have to purchase any hardware/servers to host the LIS?   

A SaaS provider will not require clients to purchase any hardware or servers. 

Are there charges for software and hardware operating system upgrades?   

A SaaS provider will not require clients to purchase any software or hardware operating system upgrades. 

Is there full redundancy with full data replication for disaster recovery?  

A SaaS provider will provide full redundancy at every level including providing a redundant fail-over facility with full data replication.

Are all your clients on the same version of the software and upgraded without additional charges?

In a true SaaS offering, all clients will be on the same software version. Systems should be able to be configured uniquely for each lab, but the software version should be the same. Clients should not be charged for software upgrades.

SaaS-Based LIS License Models 

A true SaaS-based LIS will charge based on the number of lab users or the number of transactions. If the technology vendor uses a “per user” pricing model, make sure you know the definition of a user. For example, are the charges based on named users or concurrent users? A named user license model is based on the exact number of registered users, while a concurrent user software license model is based on the maximum number of users who will use the system simultaneously. Does the LIS provider charge for only lab employees who access the LIS, or does it also include client users accessing results or performing technical/professional (TCPC) splits? This is often another source of “surprise” charges. 

Implementation Fees 

Of course, it is common for every LIS supplier to charge implementation fees to set up the LIS. Implementation charges might include: 

  • Test menu set-up 
  • Workflow set-up 
  • Report design 
  • Interfaces (EMR/EHR, Instruments, Bioinformatics software, etc.) 
  • Historical data migration 
  • Training

Know your implementation fees and ongoing expenses upfront so that you are not surprised by exorbitant upgrade charges as your lab grows and expands. 


Don’t forget security! With the number of security breaches that occur every day, it is imperative that your LIS provider is doing everything they can to secure your data. As a SaaS provider of lab information systems and revenue cycle management software, security is our paramount concern. If you are moving toward a comprehensive LIS solution, the supplier you choose should have compliance capabilities built into the logic and workflow, enable an audit trail, have a highly secure system and communications, and have a strong business continuity plan. Once again, a true SaaS provider includes these services as part of their business model, and it is not an “extra” charge. Services should include: 

  • Retaining source documentation for each accession 
  • Maintaining data and referential integrity for auditing 
  • Logging to support customer compliance audits 
  • Updating audit log for system changes 
  • Using top-tier data centers 
  • Backing up and archiving designed to achieve recovery objectives 
  • Securing communications 
  • Basing security measures on NIST cyber-security framework
  • Complying with privacy and security standards and requirements 

Customer Service 

Finally, your LIS vendor should always provide customer service that is knowledgeable about the LIS software and lab operations. Ensure that your provider has defined service levels, including response times. Customer service should not be an added service that incurs extra charges. 


When a lab embarks on the search for a new LIS, it is imperative that they look for a provider that clearly defines all the charges for their services. There is nothing more annoying than to be surprised by a lot of hidden charges that should be included as part of your service. A true SaaS-based LIS allows the lab to outsource all the hardware and software-related services they used to have to manage themselves, including software upgrades, hardware upgrades, disaster recovery, security, and customer service. Ensure that the LIS solution you choose does not include hidden fees for services you thought were included.

Download the full 2022 LIS State of the Industry Report to see how almost 200 individuals representing laboratories around the U.S. responded to questions regarding satisfaction, reliability, scalability, security, and interoperability.

Get Your Free Copy

Published by XiFin
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