Lab staff at Bella Coola General Hospital celebrated the launch of LIS last week. They are (front row) CLXT Shayla Lalonde, CLXT,Angela Stavast; middle row: Diagnostic Services Manager Donna Pepper, lab assistant Ken Morton and CLXT Jenna Gagnon (back row left).

Bella Coola lab team jetpacks out of Flintstone’s age into the Jetson’s era with launch of LIS

When staff at Bella Coola General Hospital found out in March they were finally getting a Laboratory Information System (LIS), they did backflips through the hospital halls.

OK, perhaps that’s an exaggeration. But they were ecstatic to finally go from what seemed like working in the Flintstone’s age to moving into the Jetson’s era. The old paper system involved completing result calculations on spreadsheets, manually transcribing results and manually capturing workloads to list a few of the challenges.

Late last month, the team celebrated when they got to say “buh bye” to the old system when LIS went live. (Bella Coola is one of the last VCH sites to switch to an electronic lab system. Bella Bella is next.)

“We can’t believe this manual process went on for so long,” says Donna Pepper, Diagnostic Services Manager for BCGH. “The timing is perfect with Cerner around the corner to bring the lab into the 21st century.”

LIS is a software system that records, manages, and stores data for clinical laboratories. A key aspect to LIS is the managing and reporting of critical data concerning the status of infection, immunology, and care and treatment status of patients.

Needless to say, LIS has already improved Bella Coola’s workflow processes and improved patient care.

“We can get a result to a clinic in Vancouver in real time. Patient care is improved because physicians anywhere in the Lower Mainland can access our results,” explains Donna. “The local clinic can download our results into their electronic medical record, reducing wait times for the paper copy to come over from the lab.”

Team power

When it came time for the switch to LIS, Donna’s team embraced the training, “covering for each other, supporting each other through the transition, and accepting the change with optimism.”

“They made my job easier with their enthusiasm and willingness to learn.  I am very lucky to have this group on my team,” says Donna.

William Findlay, Director, Central Coast, also has high praise for the Bella Coola team.

“Donna and her team have done an incredible job of pulling this together,” says William. “We started with a tight timeline and weren’t sure if it was doable at first. But they did it. This new system has dramatically reduced the chance for error in reporting lab results and overall improved our standard of patient care and level safety.”



  1. Ada Leung

    Congratulations to everyone who were involved with this project!!!

    July 10, 2017
  2. Leslie Harestad

    Way to go to the exceptional lab team in Bella Coola! Does our hospital proud.

    July 7, 2017
  3. jim yakimec vch laboratories

    Congratulations Donna and team.
    We must make notable mention of the very hard working and accommodating LIS / IMITS team and VCH technical leadership staff who all worked to make this a success.
    Thanks to your eager leadership on a job well done.

    July 6, 2017
  4. Carole Clark

    Excellent photo of excellent people.

    July 6, 2017