Advanced laboratories can no longer use manual notebooks since they must deal with an increasing amount of samples and data. So, if you want to avoid grappling with data debugging and workflows in your laboratory, modernising its data management process with software LIMS can be your ultimate solution.
It has become a crucial workhouse in modern laboratories that facilitates research work and increases productivity exponentially.
In this post, we will discuss how LIMS can help your lab operate more efficiently. We will also fill you in on the functions of LIMS and how they can benefit your organization.
So, if you are wondering how to pick the best LIMS for your laboratory, read on.
What is Software LIMS
A laboratory information management system (LIMS), sometimes known as a LIS (laboratory information system), is a computerised program that specialises in maintaining and monitoring samples, associated laboratory data, and streamlining overall lab procedures and activities. Laboratories can better run tests, automate workflows, and standardise operations by installing a LIMS.
Labs that incorporate LIMs in their day to day activities are:
- Clinical laboratories
- Production labs
- Beverage labs
- Natural Sciences labs
- Pharmacy and Biotechnology industries, and more!
What does Software LIMS Do?
The core functionality of every LIMS is to have complete and precise records of specimens to ensure data safety and avoid data loss.
A LIMS system records:
- The researcher’s information working with a specific sample
- Tracks the location of the sample
- The current step of the research
- Which step to follow next
- Stores information like sample input and expiration date, etc.
LIMS workflow management feature is incredibly feasible for busy labs where numerous researchers and technicians work together.
It automates workflow by:
- Distributing tasks among team members
- recommending the instruments and methods to use
- Outlining the current method
Its inventory management system is another pivotal function of modern software LIMS.
- It handles and monitors stock supplies and reagents
- Generates auto alerts when stock runs out to avoid delays
- Stores detail data of each piece of equipment and notifies when an upgrade is needed.
Another surpassing feature of a LIMS is, it enables lab technicians to make better decisions offering a detailed overview of consolidated data and trends.
It helps to generate real-time reporting on:
- Sample tracking
- Inventory system configuration
- Test outputs
- Sample report
- Test results validation
- Audit trail
- Specimen analysis count
- Automatic invoice system
- Instrument calibration
- Quality control data
- Freezer space, and more!
Benefits of Using a Software LIMS
The surpassing benefits of Software LIMS include:
- Reduces Human Errors: By enabling lab managers to automate lab activities and information on a single but sophisticated platform, a LIMS solution ensures incorporating less manual efforts, reducing human mistakes, and saving a lot of time.
- Improves Productivity: When in most result-driven labs, researchers have to keep working their socks off, integrating a LIMS can help them work more efficiently. With the advanced functionalities of modern LIMS systems, lab activities have become more streamlined that boosts productivity and precision tremendously.
- Real-time Corporation: Modern LIMS not only digitises lab activities, but also facilitates research works by enabling team members to collaborate in real-time!
- Instrument Integration: Advanced LIMS offers effortless integration with other systems, like ERP, Accounting, and lab instruments, and supports effortless data export for improved process efficiency.
- Regulatory Compliance: LIMS solutions come with easy regulatory compliance, including ISO/IEC 17025:2017, HIPAA, GAMP, CLIA, GLP, etc. It enables labs to operate following various regulations ensuring real-time quality control and monitoring.
How to Choose Software LIMS
Choosing a LIMS is a tricky task as not all tools can match your industry specification.
Keep the following things in mind to pick the right LIMS for your lab:
Understand Your Lab Type
Every lab process is unique. So while choosing a LIMS, make sure you understand how your lab operates. For instance, a LIMS used in an oil mining laboratory cannot be a perfect match for a clinical laboratory.
Before investing in software, make sure it complies with your specific needs and thoroughly cross-check the features and functionalities.
Adaptability and Flexibility
Again, choose a LIMS that is highly configurable and adaptable to your laboratory processes. Some software offers many out-of-the-box features ready to use after installing, while others need to be configured via the tools coming with the system.
A standard LIMS may be the pick of most industries because of its effortless implementation and OOB features. But if your lab runs on more specialised IT operations, count on a software LIMS that comes with the flexibility to control and customise the features.
Data security is the most significant criterion while selecting a LIMS. Make sure the LIMS you pick offers data backup to ensure data integrity and avoid data loss.
Choose a software solution that provides layers of protection to safeguard sensitive information against fraud users. It’s particularly true in clinical LIMS, where securing patient’s information is crucial.
A highly encrypted LIMS ensures:
- an in-built user administration system with a unique username and password
- integration with Active Directory or LDAP for user verification
- access through an Identity Server
You can go with cloud storage, remote storage, or on-premises LIMS setup. If you choose a cloud LIMS, make sure you analyse its data storage process as some LIMS vendors may have some limitations on where your data will get stored.
Different LIMS are built on varying architectures that influence the software deployment, installation, or usability.
While you can choose a thick-client architecture for more redundancy, you have web-based LIMS that ensures effortless deployment, improved security, and connectivity. Analyse which architecture would be more feasible for your laboratory and employ the best one.
In industrial research works, even a delay of 1-second may incur heavy loss. So, go with a LIMS provider that offers seamless and expert customer assistance. Again, choose a service that provides technical training to your team on the best uses of the functions and features.