Keeping up with the fast-evolving world of trends means that smart work with innovation is required. Having a smart-infrastructure built on informatics solutions can benefit the lab by implementing automation. Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is a critical part of the system to be incorporated in all functioning laboratories for better results. The LIMS of today has gone far beyond just sample management invoking functions like resource management, workflow management and many more. By adhering to National Accreditation Board for Testing & Calibration Laboratories (NABL) standards, labs can manage NABL quality indicators easily.
Quality control in LIMS:
Quality control in LIMS is the process of assurance of quality at every stage included in the automation system. It may also be called as a statistical process used to evaluate the analytics produced in the patient’s results. The sampling of the product is continued after every successful stage until the end of the sample management process. Quality control is very essential in a LIMS used in clinical laboratories as the result cannot be tampered with. Quality control is done on three major factors in a clinical lab, which are:
Quality control on the sample
Quality control of the utilized equipment
Quality control for the process.
For quality control of the sample, the result might either be quantitative or qualitative. Meaning that the result can either be a number count (hemoglobin count in the blood) or can define if the test result is positive or negative or can be limited to a few different values alone.
Quality control checks on the equipment or instrument are used to validate whether the instrument is operating within pre-defined specifications, inferring that patient test results are reliable. Once this validation is completed, the result of the patient can be used for further diagnosis.
Sample management is the primary process of a LIMS system. Any QC lab needs to analyze many kinds of the sample depending on the industry of the laboratory. Our QC laboratory helps in the analyses of samples in a unique and distinct method. We have the following salient features for sample management:
Single sample management and multi-sample management by using templated management techniques
Sample recognition field that can easily identify the sample and logs in the details, minimizing manual data entry.
Barcoded labels for sample tracking
Implemented workflow automation features for reduced confusion and increased productivity
Preparation and method Execution:
We have predefined execution methods for sample tracking, analysis of tracking response, complaint reception, reduce the dead time, and overall to increase the efficiency of our system.
Special features for execution such as content uniformity, dissolution, stability, etc.
Strict preparation and method execution policies like standardization, tracking of reagents, control of the environment, trainees, and equipment analysis.
We understand the importance of report generation and sensitivity in handling the report data. Hence we have assembled the following features for report management:
Instant visualization on any abnormal notifications.
Configurable testing methodologies and calculation techniques for managing high variant products.
Multiple level approvals with comment entries for sensitive results.
Flexible facilities that are fully configurable to the product and customer level including layout, content, units, significant digits, etc.
Bi-directional integration with SAP-QM or SAP Batches for finished product testing. Interfaces to other ERP/MES systems available.
Streamlined delivery of event notification and results to end-users via e-mail, fax, etc.
The documents like SOP, analytical, maintenance, etc. are version controlled for ISO standard compliance.
As important as quality control is in laboratories, so is analyzing the proper features best suited for every laboratory and making use of it appropriately. Some important Quality control features are as follows:
Latest and updated versions of specifications are available on request.
Multi-level product specification management is made with controlled releases.
Sample management, sample storage, and reserve management are all done with accuracy.
Sample planning with the batch-wise process and test plan management is done.
Templated sample management by templating the sample at registration is effectively carried for sample tracking.
Quality control is done at multi-level, multi-departmental, and multi-premises.
Workflow management with work schedule according to work plan for analysts and instruments alike.
Accuracy in result capture and OOT management.
Quality control on instruments by instrument calibration and regular maintenance scheduled at different time intervals with a proper update on status lock for instruments.
Training on the new releases and sample management for every instrument is carried for every lab personnel
Any deviations from the original workflow are promptly recorded and validated.
Stability in the study module is maintained.
LIMS quality control process allows managing the data of products, samples, and instruments alike on a regular basis by monitoring at various levels. This ensures that quality can be monitored and, if necessary, actions to improve quality.
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Running a productive lab smoothly is tedious. Whether you are dealing with multiple samples or if you have an excessive number of deadlines approaching, following the practical tips given below will help in managing your lab efficiently.
1. Keep an eye on your stuff:
Your inventory covers all the specimens and reagents your lab will need for diagnostic or experimentation analysis. An effective way of sustaining inventory is to use a tool which makes use of barcodes to identify, categorize, and track samples. Regardless, the labels you utilize for vials, racks, tubes, and boxes need to be suitable for the atmosphere in which they will be used. For instance, labels marked ”cryogenic” can come in handy for any reagents stored in freezers or cell lines or specimens stored in liquid nitrogen.
2. Sustainment is key:
Maintenance of the lab infrastructure is vital to ensure the durability of your reagents and samples. Refrigerators and freezers need to be sustained at the ideal temperature, Co2/O2 levels in each incubator should be controlled carefully, and the stocks of liquid nitrogen and other lab supplies must be replenished. Systems which can control your storage equipment, offering real-time notifications and updates while keeping detailed reports and logs of all parameter related activity can make this entire process automated, with minimal human intervention, and will ensure that no other thing is missed. These type of systems work with a cloud-based framework and can integrate all reports in a single place and will notify the lab personnel if anything goes wrong.
3. Stay Coordinated:
Spending time in workflow management will enable you to enhance sample traceability, track inventory, improve the overall personnel productivity, and more. Incorporating a LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) is an excellent way to do this as it will note the movement of each sample during the testing process, monitoring its custody chain, and enabling users to schedule downstream processing, analysis, and testing in a smooth manner. Getting the most out of your LIMS by using barcoded labels is critical as both will aid in sample traceability and tracking.
Communication and coordination are also vital when incorporating any system that optimizes workflow. Holding regular lab meetings will enable you to create and control any LIMS you wish to utilize and also keep a good record of all lab activities with the help of well-annotated lab books and LIMS.
4. It’s the system, not the people:
No matter how organized the labs are, errors will occur. Designing barriers and openly discussing the mistakes will decrease the likelihood of them reappearing. By introducing multiple checkpoints and verifications, you can reduce the chances that the mistakes will stack up causing unanticipated consequences. But this should not be done without compromising the speed of processing in the lab. Maintaining lab infrastructure, keeping a managed inventory, and coordinating your workflow are all kinds of barriers which can prevent critical errors. Managing all related data in your lab books will also enable you to revolve the mistakes as each test or experiment can be verified with comprehensive documentation even if the person is no longer a lab member.
5. Utilize Common Sense:
Some labs are specialized in carrying out a small set of techniques that needs specific labels. For instance, Xylene resistant labels for histochemistry labs. Regardless, most of the labs do not have tremendous resources with which to buy labels and equipment. Managing a lab cannot be like a one size fits all approach. In this case, it’s crucial to assess what the issues are and to come up with answers from both financial and organizational standpoints. In most cases, simple solutions are enough. For instance, you can have signed up sheets either online or on paper for machines like biosafety, centrifuges, cabinets, and thermocyclers, etc.
6. Thinking Creatively:
Following the current trends are important. You need to make sure that you’re thinking in a creative manner even for simpler things as it can help avoid issues in the lab and also can enhance the research pace.
Efficient communication is crucial regardless of the lab you work in, but with every member consistently working on various techniques or projects, it's possible that they fall out of the habit of collaborating. Lab meetings are a significant way to solve problems, especially in the beginning of the week, so that everyone knows what their tasks are and how to complete them. It’s a good habit to make a relationship with your office mates even outside the lab as this helps to have excellent communication.
Hope the above blog helped you to know about managing a lab productively and their benefits in depth.
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Upgrading your clinical laboratory might be the latest enhancement you are implementing in your lab. This upgrade means you are automating the key functions to easily maintain the workflow. To make sure that your systems work in a smooth, harmonized and safe manner, consider installing a cloud-based Laboratory Information Management system in your Lab. The cloud-based LIMS is no doubt the best choice to make as it has many advantages. A few of which are:
The data stored in the cloud are fully encrypted, hence 100% data safety.
Cost saving as there is no need of server maintenance.
With effective data recovery, any data loss can be reverted.
No manpower required as everything is stored in the cloud, unlike physical servers.
Below are some simple tips to effectively manage your Cloud-based Laboratory Information Management System:
Implement a Cloud-Based Service Desk:
The most important step to do while implementing a cloud-based LIMS system is to provide a mini web page for clients to find information that caters to the need of every patient. The internet is the influence king of the virtual world; so most of your patients will visit your website first, before heading over to your lab. Set up a cloud-based service desk and assist your patients just like you would do in your physical laboratory premises.
Make sure the webpage has a live chat facility so your customers can chat about the types of tests they can do and laboratory locations. Providing a live chat facility can help you to follow-up in case the customers log out of the page suddenly. Also, features such as patient portals and customer portals empower your customers to download report through the website making them completely independent.
Ease of Mobility:
Investing in a LIMS mobile app or website is the biggest advantage that Cloud-based servers can provide a laboratory. Since the data is stored at a remote location and is not bound by the constraints of physical hardware on the premises, investing on a mobile version of your laboratory’s website or even an App is a good idea.
You can take patient satisfaction to another level when you offer your patients and potential patients the ease to reach or access their health information on the go. With a virtual service desk in place, going mobile would mean more and better interactions, increased patient satisfaction.
LIMS Staff Training:
It’s essential to train laboratory staffs to unlock the full power of your LIMS software application. To utilize LIMS software effectively, you can segregate the employees, department wise and provide training accordingly. Delegating one person as the head of training in every department can take the responsibility of providing LIMS related knowledge sharing and periodic training. LIMS software training can include configuration options, storage, and retrieval of data, managing your workflows and reporting. Staff training in each department is very important for businesses to succeed.
Increase Speed of Operation:
While there is technology in place to conduct meetings between people from different locations, Cloud-based LIS effectively helps access any data from any location as long as their login has access rights to that data. This ensures faster exchange of information resulting in an overall increased speed of operations of the laboratory.
Ease up the Implementation Process and Quality Indicators:
The constant check of quality to ensure stability in business is the major requirement for any industry. With clinical laboratory, it is more of a service quality check rather than product one. Hence, quality indicators are of utmost importance to a laboratory.
LIMS can monitor jobs like Sample monitoring, sample workflow process, patient visit count, inventory flow, cash flow, consultant performance, and overall business fluctuations over a period and analyze the metrics to issue performance-based documents. Then LIMS can develop standard quality indicators and key performance indicators.
These are the few steps in which you could optimize our laboratory functions by using cloud-based LIMS. By identifying your business metrics, you can now establish new grounds for business optimization with cloud technology.
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Going wrong in experiments taking place in laboratories is usual, but proper attention and planning can help in preventing damaged reputations, wasted resources, and unnecessary accidents. Below are some reasons why laboratories fail and what can be done to stop them.
A shortfall of orientation with the Business:
Bell Labs, Xerox PARC, and other legendary labs can evoke images of complete isolation and extreme secrecy from the core business. Split-up sorting is significant in the case of organizations where rules and regulations heads to balance new ideas. In this case, split-up remains as a rare problem.
The issue inclines that the labs do not have a clear strategy planned with the organization. You can see most of the labs offers kombucha by installing kegs on tap to acquire the creative things beginning and then start to evaluate with only a finite conception of their goals. Some of the team in the labs are not sure that they are charged with disruption or serving the core business.
The committee members and leaders should consider the importance of opening a lac, decide on how the lab will benefit or interrupt the present and future Business, should plan for a remedy in the case of disruption, prepare the works for how the new ideas are going to be executed, and more. The planning and other steps can be successful if it's made with the following considerations.
Vitality: Making clear and creative goals for the lab will assist both company leaders, and stakeholders understand the intent and direction of development vision.
Growth: Let's imagine, you have come with the idea that is validated as well as requires growing outside of the lab. Now, where will you get the additional support for the plan? There are few options like you go back to an accelerator, an incubator, or into the core business. Possibly, troublemaking innovations will go outside of the core enterprises, as it can be developed in a further way and also secured from business-as-usual fingerprints and corporate antibodies.
People: People with purpose and passions are considered to be the heart of the most influential development initiatives as there is no chance for the lab to support the stakeholders who come up with new ideas and implementing them in unchartered territory.
Lack of team balance:
Some people have good intentions and knowledge of the industry but fails as they do not have any idea how innovation works. Possibly, the leaders of this type deal with the development and changes as they deal with a problem in the core business. This will lead to more significant incremental improvements.
The other way lab fails when they are staffed merely by a team of external tycoons, whose only thinking is to set fire to conventional forms of operating burns bridges along with the organization. It means the people know steps to build a business or launch startups but will miss the internal networks and knowledge needed to handle corporate networks.
It's essential to take a diverse team to be more successful at your organization. You also need people outside the enterprise, but you need to make sure that they possess different skills including employees for long with a passion for development, creativity and also should know the working nature of the company.
It's not much easy to maintain this balance, but you need to make it happen. The practical development team in or out of the lab needs to be diverse and purpose-driven in terms of background, function, and cognitive style.
The shortfall of metrics to trace success:
Innovation needs unique and creative thinking around economic support. Labs require space to incubate, evolve, or iterate new ideas. Return and financial need to be tracked over time and also should be insisted in advance even if your lab acts as a cost center that is mandated to experiment over the longer term.
Apart from this, there are some other essential things for the laboratories failing like Undervaluing ROI (Return on Investment), hiring extremes, building vs buying, meaningless hackathons, inflated expectations, the CTO/CINO/CIO dilemma, undue focus on interruption, poor project management, a big plan with no stepping stones, ignoring people by focusing on technology, and more.
Do you have any other suggestions to stop the laboratories from failing?
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The rise of new technologies has made the volume of data drastically increasing day by day. The data volume generated globally across clinical research, biobanks, and other relevant testing laboratories are developing at a faster rate. Surviving the vast data volume and influencing it for research or business is stimulative for labs, especially if they don't possess a regulated mechanism to use and process the data.
One of the crucial reasons to invest in the Lab Information Management System (LIMS) is that it is used for organizing the data disregarding what type of industry you belong to. Information availability and rapid data growth have resulted in the extensive evolution of data management. Below are ten vital signs that state why you should invest in a LIMS.
1. Your laboratory holds higher operational costs:
Leading the particular portion of the allotted funds into laboratory personnel for management and data entry operations.
A Lab Information Management System frees human resources from time consuming and unproductive tasks, and therefore, they are considered as the high saver for your data entry and management operations. You will be able to pay-as-you-go on any basis like monthly or yearly if you prefer to go with a cloud-based LIMS. This means that you no need to make any investments towards hardware installations.
2. You hold transcriptional data entry errors and not able to share information (data silos):
It indicates poor data traceability, problems with connecting data across various data sources & instruments, and data's manual input leading to transcriptional errors.
A Lab Information Management System combines with other data sources and instruments flawlessly and manages the data in the laboratory in an enhanced manner. LIMS automated calculations save time and decrease errors for laboratory personnel. Apart from this, the information can also be retrieved accurately at any time.
3. When there is a risk in your laboratory data:
The sign is when you are not able to grab access to perceptive clinical information, no reliability, not able to follow the regulations based on your industries, making use of paper-based systems and spreadsheets to manage data in your laboratory.
A Lab Information Management System provided enhanced reliability and data security by matching the industry related standards, namely 21 CFR Part 11, HIPAA, and more. It also protects perceptive clinical information by hindering user access of unauthorized persons.
4. When your laboratory has inferior disaster management system:
Insufficiency of a suitable mechanism for data storage and retrieval in the event of theft, fire, or natural calamities.
A Lab Information Management System ensures data continual by copying data to mirror servers, storing data on the primary servers, and also make sure on the timely backups. The information can be managed in case of any theft, fire, or natural disasters.
5. When you don't have real-time data metrics:
The sign indicates when there are no updates to laboratory clients and users on sample processing stages when there are no notifications and alerts for sample expiry or inventory depletion, and when there is no real-time display of metrics of the laboratory in the main dashboard to watch out important problems.
A Lab Information Management System alerts you regarding the inventory depletion or assists in identifying expired samples with the help of alarms, and this makes sure about the timely inventory replenishment. The LIMS also helps you to stay updated on testing or processing samples in your labs by sending application notification or email alerts so that you will be able to know the critical problems instantly.
6. When your laboratory has poor traceability and limited data storage capacity:
The sign is when there are any difficulties in tracing the possible data instantly by searching over different piles of paper data when generating an extensive amount of sample information with the help of paperwork, and when there are too many piles of paper data in the labs, limiting the capacity in the data storage.
A Lab Information Management System assists in managing information electronically and helps to decrease paperwork. You can accurately and instantly trace information with the help of different tools. A cloud-based LIMS protects the data in the cloud, and this data is accessible in real-time and 24/7 available anywhere.
7. When your laboratory is unable to reach the expected productivity:
Delayed Turnaround Times and experimental analysis over industry averages, and influencing human resources for auditing, manual data entry, report generation are the vital signs.
A Lab Information Management System helps labs to plan data management effectively, accelerate operations, and execute different business decisions. It also helps in generating rapid reports and control an audit trail along with time stamp and date.
8. When you have sustainability problems:
When your competitors receive more orders when compared to you and when there are insufficient business agility and responsiveness.
A Lab Information Management System can help in making your laboratory business active amid the complicated global market.
9. When your laboratory lacks collaboration scientifically:
When there requires a high sample turn around time and data duplication for sharing with collaborators and partners.
A Lab Information Management System, particularly in the case of cloud-based, helps in decreasing errors, avoid data duplication, enables accelerated turn around time, and effective collaboration. Apart from this, it also allows us to achieve higher profit, market share, and productivity.
10. When you have no capabilities in customizing for your different data management methods:
Applying new changes to the existing data manually to the older records, and where there is no customizations option available with spreadsheets and paper-based systems.
A Lab Information Management System enables customization as per your requirements and is also considered as the highly configurable solution. Any new changes can be applied instantly on the original records and therefore saves more time.
I hope the above signs let you choose the right LIMS. Any other queries and comments on the Lab Information Management System are welcome.
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