Artwork for Introduction to Laboratory Informatics: Life of a Specimen
2.0 Contact Hour(s)
2.0 Hours
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Introduction to Laboratory Informatics: Life of a Specimen


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.


This online course is designed for public health and clinical laboratory staff (including managers and leaders) and persons interested in the role and importance of informatics to the operation and mission of the laboratory. 
Learners who complete this course can then take the second course in the two-part module – Introduction to Laboratory Informatics: Life of a Result


Course content is closed captioned, where applicable, and optimized for a screen reader.


At the end of this course, learners should 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
Continuing Education (CE)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Laboratory Systems, is approved as a provider of continuing education programs in the clinical laboratory sciences by the ASCLS P.A.C.E.® Program. This course is approved for 2.0 contact hours.

P.A.C.E.® course number: 288-007-22