Popular culture shows that laboratories are generally depicted as futuristic, high-tech organizations that use the newest technology and equipment. Nevertheless, most labs continue to store and organize their records in the real world using outdated methods such as printed notes and Excel spreadsheets.
Developing a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) may be challenging and time-consuming. Every aspect of your lab’s operations must be managed and tracked by a single software package.
You may be able to get by with Excel as a basic LIMS system, but it doesn’t offer all the functionality you need. Unfortuitously, these so-called “interim” solutions tend to remain in place for a supremely extended period. And that’s not the best course of action to take.
If you operate in a lab, have you considered installing LIMS? There are several advantages to switching from Excel to LIMS.
Standardization of procedures is critical in the laboratory. Your consumers will have more faith in your testing services because of this. When labs utilize Excel spreadsheets to store or publish test data, this is merely a single phase of the overall sample analytical process.
Consequently, you’ll utilize procedural controls to ensure a consistent workflow, which increases the likelihood of a human mistake. There has to be a comprehensive investigation of lab blunders to determine what went wrong.
Determining the full extent of a problem may take time, and quality control laboratories are often under pressure to complete investigations in the time allotted for them.
By using a LIMS, laboratories may better regulate and automate the sampling and analysis process by storing and retrieving data electronically. This might include the reception of samples, the labeling of samples, the distribution of tests and work, comparisons of results versus specifications, and the completion of reports.
It’s possible to set up system controls in most LIMS to ensure consistency in your lab operations.
Recovery of Outdated Data
Analysis and statistical objectives often rely on previously collected information in laboratories. Controlling production processes statistically helps to achieve a high standard of quality. There may be difficulties with workforce competence or operational processes identified via data analysis.
Leveraging a high volume of data stored in a unified LIMS database opens up a wide variety of doors for data analytics, which can be used to enhance corporate operations.
The capacity to swiftly retrieve a Certificate of Analysis for a specific batch or a sample, along with the creation of top management reports regarding the lab’s performance, is often recognized as a substantial time saver for laboratory administrators.
Both tasks can be completed simultaneously, eliminating the need for manual data entry.
There are various ways to automate management reporting, which require a lot of time spent sifting through documents and spreadsheets. You would save time for your employees by allowing them to retrieve data, whether it is for temporary or periodic reporting purposes.
Efficiency and Scalability
Several elements influence a laboratory’s capacity and rate of workflow. This may be anything from the number of analysts to the availability of the necessary equipment. One of the goals that are expected to be accomplished by plenty of Lab Managers is to make the most efficient use of the resources that are now available.
As a result, it might take a long time to extract valuable insights from lab results if spreadsheets are overused to organize the information. Look at the time it takes for samples to go through the process or how long it takes from when a sample is received until reported.
The administrative labor necessary for supporting testing procedures may well be automated via a LIMS. Automating repetitive tasks such as assigning samples for batch testing, for instance, is relatively straightforward.
To reduce the administrative burden of double-checking each time a batch release test sample is scheduled, you should load and validate this functionality in your LIMS. Automating administrative processes frees up time for analysts to evaluate samples, increasing throughput.
If you have been using a biobanking LIMS, such as [placeholder for information], you can easily handle and trace your samples. Best Practice standards can be met with simplicity if specimens are collected, sorted, stored, and processed quickly.
Confirm and save the details of your donors and customers, including their permission data. Maintain auditable records of all samples, whether they are in the process of being processed, are being stored, or are being delivered to either internal or external research initiatives.
Transcribing data by hand leaves the possibility for human mistakes. An independent verification process must be implemented when there is a risk of transcribing errors. Using a LIMS to automate processes may be beneficial on several levels.
Handwriting labeling is a common practice among analysts. Or maybe you could manually create tags in a Text file, fill the printer with tag paper, and then print these out by hand each time a sample is brought into the lab. This would take a long time to complete.
LIMS could also be programmed to print tags to a labeling printer when samples are booked. This procedure can be automated for you.
Ensured Integrity and Trackability
The user cannot entirely control spreadsheets created in Excel. When more than one person enters data, it is more likely to be unintentionally erased, even if the spreadsheet is password-protected.
No one can tell exactly when or by whom user data was removed from a spreadsheet. There are also certain drawbacks to using a lockout on a spreadsheet, such as single-user edits. You may be following down the person who last opened the spreadsheet so that you may make changes to your data there.
Forget about all these headaches with LIMS. Because the audit trail records every change, you’ll always know exactly when and why anything was changed. LIMS also provides an additional layer of protection by using user accounts.
Using privileges, you have complete control over who has access to the network and what they can do there. Assigning degrees of permission, accessibility, and editability to your data ensures that it is safe and readily available.