The Laboratory Information System (LIS) is critical to management of workflow and processes in the pathology lab. It is ultimately the source of the identifiers applied to specimens and containers, and is responsible for recording the processes that were applied to specimens.
An important purpose of the Specimen Module is to store specimen information necessary to understand and interpret an image within the image information object , as images may be displayed in contexts where the Laboratory Information System is not available. Implementation of the Specimen Module therefore requires close, dynamic integration between the LIS and imaging systems in the laboratory workflow.
It is expected that the Laboratory Information Systems will participate in the population of the Specimen Module by passing the appropriate information to a DICOM compliant imaging system in the Modality Worklist, or by processing the image objects itself and populating the Specimen Module attributes.
The nature of the LIS processing for imaging in the workflow will vary by product implementation. For example, an image of a gross specimen may be taken before a gross description is transcribed. A LIS might provide short term storage for images and update the description attributes in the module after a particular event (such as sign out). The DICOM Standard is silent on such implementation issues, and only discusses the attributes defined for the information objects exchanged between systems.