Mylab – history

Published 16.02.2012
Author Hanna Hyvärinen
Photos Mylab's & Esa Soini's archives, iStock
A Honeywell printer is being installed.
A Honeywell printer is being installed.
In the 1980's computers were large and heavy.
In the 1980's computers were large and heavy.

The beginning

Research Scientists Tapani Heiniö and Ilmo Tuohi founded Mylab on April 1st 1987. Since then, Mylab has grown to become the market leader for clinical laboratory information technology in Finland.

In 1987, when Mylab was founded, the world was a very different place. Computers were scarce and had very limited memory and slow data connections.

Laboratory results were usually transmitted to physicians by telephone, which often led to erroneous or incomplete information.

Today it would be impossible to have health care laboratories without effective information systems. The mission of Mylab is to develop these systems further by listening to customers.

Ilmo Tuohi
Ilmo Tuohi
Tapani Heiniö
Tapani Heiniö

1987 Mylab is established

Tapani Heiniö and Ilmo Tuohi had met at the Technical Research Center of Finland where they were developing clinical laboratory information systems. Their development projects included the HYVOL system for the Virology department of the University of Helsinki and a system called MYLAB for Medix, a leading privately owned laboratory.

Programming was slow and expensive, but Heiniö and Tuohi believed that the system would become a profitable business in the future. In Finland, there were hundreds of clinical laboratories, but only a few used computerized systems.

Ilmo Tuohi and Tapani Heiniö decided to establish a company to continue the development work. They called their company Mylab. As their initial capital, they had acquired the rights to the Hyvol and Mylab systems from the Technical Research Center of Finland.

 

Digital pdp11 was cutting edge technology in the 1980's.
Digital pdp11 was cutting edge technology in the 1980's.

1988 – 1990 Deployment subcontractor

The Virology department of the University of Turku was the first customer of the newly founded Mylab. The University of Turku ordered a tailored version of the Hyvol system. The original MYLAB system was never used outside Medix Laboratories.

Development of systems was delayed for a while, when the U.S.-based ICT company Digital hired Mylab to deploy their Multilab system. In the autumn of 1987, Ilmo Tuohi and Tapani Heiniö were installing Multilab at Jorvi hospital in Helsinki and the Central Hospital of Satakunta in western Finland. Multilab was installed at over fifteen clinical laboratories in Finland.

It could take up to a year to implement the information system for a single hospital. Integration of data system analyzers was a particularly labor-intensive task, so Mylab hired its first employee to integrate analyzers in laboratory systems.

Multilab became Mylab's main product for two decades.
Multilab became Mylab's main product for two decades.
Microbiology got a laboratory information system of its own. The system was Samba.
Microbiology got a laboratory information system of its own. The system was Samba.

1991 – 1993 Development of new systems

In 1991, Mylab made a proposal to three university hospitals that were already using Multilab for a project that would modernize Multilab and above all make it a unified entity. The hospitals accepted the proposal and Mylab developed a new clinical laboratory system in co-operation with the University Hospitals of Helsinki, Kuopio and Turku.

Mylab was running two other development projects at the same time.  The Samba microbiology information system was developed together with the microbiology laboratories of seven hospitals based on a system developed at the University of Helsinki and adapted to a hospital environment.

The other major project was to develop the Mylav real-time laboratory quality management system together with Helsinki University Hospital. Mylab also inherited the Pati pathology system from Digital and deployed it in numerous pathology laboratories.

Ilmo Tuohi
Ilmo Tuohi
Esa Soini
Esa Soini

19 93 – 1995New Managing Director

Ilmo Tuohi, Mylab’s co-founder, was Managing Director during the first few years of operation while also being heavily involved in software development.

When the company and its operations expanded, the dual role became too burdensome. Ilmo Tuohi preferred development to management, so a new Managing Director was hired.

Esa Soini became Managing Director of Mylab in June 1993. Prior to joining Mylab, Soini had developed health care information systems for the U.S. Department of Defense.

In addition, he had extensive experience of the Helsinki University Hospital laboratory information systems.

Mylab celebrated its' 10th anniversary in 1997.
Mylab celebrated its' 10th anniversary in 1997.

1996 – 2001 Rapid rise to market leadership

The late 1990’s saw a period of strong growth for Mylab. More and more software was being delivered to customers old and new.

Mylab had developed from being a subcontractor and consultant into a developer and supplier of total solutions. The number of employees and net sales continued to increase as well.

In 1997, Mylab released a module-based laboratory product family. Customers could select the modules and functionality needed for their operations. In the same year, Mylab launched a prototype of Weblab, a browser-based interface for Multilab

Integration ensures smooth information flow between systems.
Integration ensures smooth information flow between systems.

2002 – 2005 Systems integration

The health care sector uses a multitude of different information systems applying different technologies. However, systems should be able to communicate with each other in order for information to be conveyed between systems smoothly. This is where systems integration is needed.

At the beginning of the 21st century, Mylab focused on integrating its laboratory systems with other health care information systems and developed the network operation properties of their system.

In Finland, health care laboratories were consolidated into larger units, which meant a smaller number of customers for Mylab although it retained all its customers.

Mylab has customer-oriented approach to developing laboratory information systems.
Mylab has customer-oriented approach to developing laboratory information systems.

2006 – 2009 The Total Service concept

Mylab changed its method of operation and started to provide long-term total care agreements. Instead of selling individual software or software upgrades, it started to provide information services tailored to customer needs.

The comprehensive service concept includes all information services, consultancy, deployment and customer support. The customer pays a monthly fee based on the volume of its operation.

 

 

Development of the genetics laboratory application started in autumn 2011
Development of the genetics laboratory application started in autumn 2011
Information services are provided through cloud services.
Information services are provided through cloud services.

2011- Cloud services and a new product generation

The first production version of Weblab was completed in autumn 2011.  The new laboratory information system has a clear, easy-to-use graphical web-based user interface.

Weblab comprises clinical chemistry and haematology laboratory services and other laboratory fields will follow.

The year 2011 was the beginning of a new era for Mylab. The company started to provide cloud-based services for customers.  Customers no longer need to maintain their proprietary information systems and hardware.

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