In this day and age, most businesses need to store large amounts of data just to run effectively and nowhere is this truer than in a hard-working laboratory. As technologies advance, the amount of data we hold in a lab, and the technical detail it involves, rises exponentially.
This increase in complexity means modest spreadsheets simply aren’t up to the task of storing our records any longer which is where an LIMS (Laboratory Information Management Systems) can come in. At its most fundamental level, an LIMS exists to help a lab manage and maintain vast amounts of data.
Why use an LIMS?
From spreadsheets to record books, traditional methods of data recording are often insufficient to keep up with the demands of a modern lab. Recording, processing and analysing samples is a complicated and time-consuming process without the right tools and the large amounts of data storage required means any organisational methods must be well-maintained and adequately planned. Thankfully, that’s where a Laboratory Information Management System could help. A LIMS will make it easier to track data and reduce the amount of time it takes to record it. The software can make the process of storing and analysing complex data samples simple and easy.
How does it work?
LIMS allows scientists and technicians to enter detailed essential information relating to the samples they’re working with. Potential info to store includes:
- Inspection number
- Batch material
- Time and date
- Where the test was conducted
- Additional data
As a sample makes its way through the testing process, all of this information is held safely, securely and in one easy-to-access place. Many LIM systems will generate a barcode when the initial sample data is entered so that it can simply be scanned again by various staff members as additional information is obtained. Each user can scan the same code to ensure that the data is up-to-date, and the process is on track. As well as keeping all data safely contained, it can also track tests, schedule updates and even pass test results on to other systems in the chain. A LIMS means the need for manual recording of data (which obviously leaves room for human error) is no longer necessary as the system will automatically capture data. This reduces the time spent on admin and also lowers the possibility for inaccuracy.
How could it help in your lab?
If you’ve come this far, then chances are you’re considering an LIMS for your lab but just how could it help? That all depends on your requirements, but we’ve listed some of the most common functionalities that an LIMS offers.
Who can use a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)?
There are various industries that use a Laboratory Information Management System to manage their laboratory data. Some of the major industries include:
- Clinical Research & Diagnostics- manage patient data and specimen information, maintain various test records and test results, generate reports, and automate laboratory workflows.
- Biobanks and Biorepositories- track biological samples and manage their storage locations for easy retrieval of the samples and their associated data.
- Food & Beverage Testing Laboratories- manage food and beverage samples, maintain test records, generate reports, and automate testing workflows.
- Cannabis Testing Laboratories- manages clients, test orders, cannabis samples, tests for cannabinoid and pesticide levels, terpenes, moisture, heavy metal, fungi and molds, and generates a Certificate of Analysis (COA) while complying with regulatory compliance.
- Oil & Gas Testing Laboratories- manages sample batches, tests, testing schedules, sample monitoring, and review and validation of results with complete traceability for external auditing purposes.
- Agriculture Testing Laboratories- manages sample types like soil, plant tissue, seeds, insects, feed, oils, nuts, husks, flowers, and more. The laboratories maintain sample booking, tracking, testing, quality control, test report generation, facilitating growers to take decisions in the field.
There are more advantages of using a LIMS
A Laboratory Information Management System offers a multitude of benefits in terms of laboratory data management. Some of the key functional benefits of a LIMS are:
1. Sample management wherein a user can efficiently track samples through the laboratory and allocate storage locations that mimic the sample storage hierarchy.
2. Workflow automation that leads to a decrease in possible human errors by eliminating manual entry of data.
3. Configurable user interface to meet the unique requirements of different laboratories and mirror their existing workflows.
4. Secure and restricted access to the data leading to better data privacy and protection.
5. Easy data backup and data mining options, resolving data accessibility issues.
6. User-role based access distribution to mirror the real-time laboratory personnel hierarchy.
7. Ease of reporting, wherein an authorized user can quickly generate reports pertaining to (a) the various tests performed, and (b) data required for auditing and quick analysis (for example, the total number of samples logged during a particular period or from a particular region).
8. Streamlined billing process by generating invoices and integrating with the various payment portals.
9. Easy regulatory compliance including HIPAA, 21 CFR Part 11, ISO/IEC 17025:2017, ISO 15189, EU GDPR, ISO 20387, Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), and Good Automated Manufacturing Practice (GAMP) .
Features of a good LIMS
1. Easy configuration to ensure compatibility with customer requirements and adaptability to the evolving laboratory needs.
2. Seamless tracking of a sample’s lifecycle, right from sample accessioning, storage, sample tests, to permanent disposal of samples.
3. A user-friendly interface with access to the various modules and functionality based on the access privileges.
4. Easy exchange of data between a Laboratory Information Management System and other instruments via flexible integration facility.
LabWare’s Industry Leading LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System)
LabWare LIMS has been the industry’s most technically advanced Laboratory Information Management System since its introduction to the market, and it continues to hold that position today. Your business will benefit from capabilities such as browser-based deployment, external-facing web portals, and fully configurable web services while at the same time having the richest catalogue of modular laboratory management software functionality from which to draw when deciding how to implement your LIMS system.
Our value proposition is enhanced by the industry’s most unique licensing approach – all LabWare LIMS functional modules are provided as part of your a single product license. The system is infinitely scalable, and is as suitable for a lab with 10 users as it is for an enterprise with thousands. Instrument integration software is built in, and hundreds of pre-existing instrument interface scripts are available.
Powerful, fully integrated configuration tools are provided to adapt the software to end-user requirements without compromising support or future upgrades. To help you gain the most rapid possible ROI, LabWare also offers proven, pre-configured implementation templates. These Template Solutions are designed to suit the requirements of specific industries, and may be used to rapidly implement systems with reduced configuration effort and therefore reduced project costs. Our implementation process itself encourages knowledge transfer so that you will be in a position to modify and extend the LIMS as your needs evolve, without reliance on LabWare. When you are a LabWare customer there are no surprises, no hidden costs, and no impediments to your continued progress.
A key attribute of any technically advanced laboratory information management system is an avoidance of platform or brand dependencies. This affords you the benefit of choice and technology fit with respect to hardware, operating systems and databases. LabWare LIMS is unequalled in this regard. The software is viable with any relational database including such popular ones as Oracle and SQL Server, and it can be deployed in a range of topologies and with varied user interfaces. Centralized, decentralized or regionalized installations are all fully supported. The LIMS user interface can be deployed in a zero footprint browser, as a thin client, as a thick client or in any combination of these – all of which have practical application depending upon your circumstances. Desktop workstations, tablets and PID’s are all supported. An extensive library of web-services allows you to author your own API where desirable and purpose-built tools are provided for integration with applications such as SAP and Waters Empower.
LabWare LIMS continues to win top rankings in industry surveys for many reasons.