What was the scope of their involvement?
The laboratory information system that Sembit built for us, in our line of work, is really the most important tool that we can have because it automates the data in a closed loop. A client, usually a hospital, puts the demographics of any donor or patient into a secure portal and sends us a vial of samples to be tested. The samples can travel to us from wherever they originate, inside or outside the US.
When they come in, the portal entry serves as a requisition form for us. It shares the same database as our information system, so we can access the information when we scan the barcode on the sample, making it really simple to proceed with testing.
In essence, the daily acquisition of samples is a real-time automated system that connects to all equipment in the lab, and we can easily access all data through the information system. Every step of the way, the data is collected and we can analyze it.
At the end of this closed loop, the system generates a final report that determines the suitability of a given donor for a given recipient, and that gets uploaded to the same portal the samples originated from. It sends an email directly to the client, letting them know that the data is awaiting them. Then they can log into the system and get the information they need.
For one of our departments, we did have an older language lab information system in place. And then, we had a brand-new department for which we didn’t have any system. Sembit generated a brand new system as well as revamped the existing system. Over a couple of years, they rewrote the whole thing and consolidated the two systems. So right now, we have the same source for all of our departments, and we are still using Sembit on an ongoing basis. Anytime a new test is added or new machines and technology are added, they build a new module.
How did you come to work with Sembit?
Sembit came recommended to us through the IT manager of the IT firm we use. I interviewed one of the Sembit programmers, and we gave them this extremely important project which would impact the survival of our laboratory. I had been interviewing and talking to three other firms, but they couldn’t really grasp what we were doing. One of them took three months and I didn’t really see the outcome, and we were up against a deadline. This is why I feel very indebted to Sembit for as long as I will be alive and for as long as this laboratory will be operational, because they had a very short deadline for this project. We would have become out-of-compliance had they not delivered on time.
When we were referred to them, quite frankly I thought my explanation would fall on deaf ears again. To my absolute pleasant surprise, he spent four hours here. He listened without any interruption and he said he could do what we needed. I wasn’t sure, but he came back a week later to put everything in a QA environment. I was astonished that, in such a short period of time, something that other companies had taken months to understand, this company was able to execute. Since then, we have never looked anywhere else. I would never consider another company. This is how much we believe in them.
How much have you invested with Sembit?
We’ve spent between $130,000 and $150,000 per year with Sembit. I meet with Sembit’s CEO on an annual basis, we make a projection and I sign a contract with him. We always leave room for exceeding that amount. His estimate has been right on the money for the past number of years, unless something comes up during the process.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with them in May 2011, and the work is ongoing. They have done solid work for us since then.