Abstract: The use of laboratory information management systems (LIMSs) in forensic pathology and death investigation systems has lagged behind the greater pathology community. Yet the logistical needs of a modern medical examiner or coroner office could be well served by a robust forensic LIMS, and the data stored in a forensic LIMS could be effectively mined for the protection of the public’s health and safety.
In spring 2007, the National Association of Medical Examiners conducted a survey of its members to determine the use of and satisfaction with forensic LIMS. This survey was repeated in the fall of 2011. The responses to the 2 surveys were compared to note any trends or changes to LIMS use by medical examiners and coroners.
Although the use of LIMS has increased in the 4 1/2 years between surveys, 18% of death investigation systems still do not have a forensic LIMS. The percentage of offices with home-developed systems has increased, whereas the user’s satisfaction with these systems has decreased. This may be due to limited budgets to either purchase or develop systems. The integration of images into these systems has increased, but not nearly to the level that should be present in an image-dependent field. Users of these systems are cognizant of the features that a forensic LIMS should have to ensure the smooth operation of a death investigation office.