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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Every modern industry laboratories are under intense pressure to enhance operational efficiency and to decrease costs, while at the same time controlling regulatory compliance and improves quality.
LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) is adopted across various verticals to meet the challenges. The on-premises system fails most of the time to offer the flexibility which is required to stay competitive in today's economic environment; therefore, an on-premise system is not agile, connected, or responsive.
Advantages of the cloud-based LIMS:
Integration, upgrades & implementation of the on-premise system indicates that the in-house IT workers having less time to work on improved innovation systems & this can also be a time-consuming process. There are plenty of advantages for your organization in case your moving to a SaaS LIMS.
Rapid LIMS implementation:
You need not invest your time to set up servers or install the software. Most of the works are done already if you are using the SaaS LIMS. Apart from that, your lab can run on the unique LIMS quickly and also help your lab to be up.
Online based LIMS are best for enterprises with inconsistent user requirements. With SaaS, it's simple to balance your works either up or down, based on what is happening on your business, and it's enough to spend money on what you make use. New features, services, and a user can be added anywhere by just with the click of the button. The skill that SaaS offers can provide organizations using cloud computing a straight edge over the competitors.
Accessibility and Collaboration:
Online based LIMS allows hassle-free, and easy access to your data anytime and anywhere from different locations, multiple branches, and various systems with a secure login ID. This accelerates enhances collaboration within laboratories in organizations globally. Apart from that, the ability to access workflows and data from where you hold an online connection.
Cloud services are providing mobile applications, and there are no restrictions for specific devices to establish the system.
Levels the playing field:
An online-based LIMS enables every type of small business to possess the ability to provide the organization-level features and functionalities on a pay as you reach the top. This results in, the small business running a LIMS can be more agile and nimble when compared to the large companies which are still making use of the on-premise legacy system.
By using the SaaS LIMS, there is no license cost, just a minimal installation fee, and no need for any databanks or in-house servers, no IT maintenance costs for software or hardware. You can only pay as your subscription you need to choose, and you can pay for the functionalities you need. The funds can be used to invest in essential businesses as there is no higher expense based on the Saas LIMS, and this can fuel the creations which are required to keep your company competitive.
Automatic Software Updates:
When you are using SaaS LIMS, the service providers take responsibility for security or software updates and patches to keep the system up-to-date. This indicates you get enough effort and time from your IT department, enabling them to put efforts over other initiatives of the laboratories which add business values.
Disaster Recovery and Backup services:
Any business needs a perfect disaster recovery plan, and the recovery solutions & the cloud-based backup solutions which come along with the SaaS LIMS are offered without the requirements for a more significant investment, making this vital protection of data services enabling every business in the verticals.
When a SaaS LIMS provides the prospects for essential advantages, it is not the right option for any laboratory. One harmful functionality of SaaS LIMS is that it is tedious to modify the system based on the company's supported design options. Executing a SaaS LIMS in a more prominent company that already possesses a higher developing on-premise function.
Below are some of the factors that need to be considered when you choose to work with a SaaS LIMS provider.
You rely on the company to secure your sensitive data when it moves to the cloud and when you work with a SaaS LIMS. Most of the providers in the cloud perform an excellent job to offer a secure environment for your information, which are the highest vulnerabilities that are probably related to human nature.
The vital responsibility for regulatory compliances always is based on the manufacturers. Few providers lease an online-based LIMS focus on a prevalence system, and this refers to the system of the cloud provider. Apart from this, the providers of SaaS LIMS handle any software patches and upgrades to make sure that you run the most crucial system version.
You need to make sure that your SaaS LIMS has the scope to validate the informatics systems and LIMS instruments.
Service level agreement:
It's essential to create an SLA with your vendors that address any concerned areas and more. One of the best SLA can make the variations between the rollout of your SaaS time & cost and smooth execution along with the unexpected expenses made down the road.
Some of the vendors provide a private cloud option that is facilitated within the facility. The opportunity offers different advantages of SaaS LIMS, but with controlled and decreased security risks. A cloud can be single-tenant, multi-tenant, private, or public. A single-tenant cloud is simpler to less prone and validated to intrusion or data leakage.
Data integrity and audit trails:
An audit trail is vital to address various concerns of the data integrities, both from product quality and regulatory perspective. You also need to ensure that your LIMS online based SaaS has a detailed and reliable audit trail for any data, and also make sure it's controlled on two different servers when compared to the data.
Simplifying certain things can add complications to the business processes when you move to the cloud. The decision to distribute SaaS LIMS will be presented by a mix of regulatory, operational, and security concerns that are unique to any laboratory. Working with the best online-based LIMS consultant is an excellent way to make sure that your enterprises required the best value from laboratory information management to new SaaS approaches.
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Every modern industry laboratories are under inten..... Read more
The healthcare industry, like any other industry, is not self-reliant. Since this is an ever-evolving industry there's no stopping for the challenges that arise or the solutions for it. One such healthcare solution is the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). The Laboratory management system has been providing healthcare solutions for the industry, over the past couple of decades: but what it really is?
LIMS And What Does It Do?
The Laboratory management system started as a system to keep a record of test samples, their results and all other particulars of donor and patients sample. From the point of its inception, the laboratory management system followed the traditional methods of manual labeling and record-keeping; it was followed only until the introduction of computers to healthcare solutions.
Ever since the Laboratory Information Management System is in a course of upward trajectory.
As the computers evolved so did software. Dedicated LIMS software packages began appearing with tweaks and new features every time. The LIMS software today is so reliable that once a test sample is collected in lab or patients house, it is taken to a pathology laboratory and given a tag, it is almost impossible to lose track of it. The LIMS software packages can manage and update the progress in tests and can also update the result of the tests to the database in real-time.
To put in simple words:
A laboratory Information management system, shortly known as LIMS, is a software that is used to help lab faculties in collecting samples, processing and delivering reports to patients. It acts as an interface between the lab faculties and the database where all the information and essential details are stored. This includes all the tests conducted under a particular facility.
In its early days, the laboratory management system was an isolated off the network system. But as technology paved the way for more advanced secure networking, the Laboratory Information Management System stepped into the next-gen of healthcare solutions.
Even though the laboratory management systems provide easy accessibility of the information from the database, it isn't enough. Its information resource was limited to that one particular facility alone. The limitations of a standalone laboratory management system include
Limitation in the storage capacity of the database servers
The maintenance of servers at the healthcare facility itself involves difficulties
Medical procedures that involve referral to different locations will require carrying of physical records; which is an inconvenience again.
Though the chances are less: if the servers go down it is almost impossible to recover the data unless there is a backup, which will require additional servers.
Since standalone laboratory management systems are not cloud-based, sharing patient reports via App, SMS or Emails is restricted.
Since there are technologies developed already to overcome these limitations, they should be employed immediately.
The cloud storage is a powerful technology than it sounds. The cloud storage has virtually no limits on the storage capacity, thereby immensely supporting the laboratory information management system and other healthcare solutions.
The data centers provide a larger bandwidth to access the servers. That is more than enough to provide traffic less access.
Since the cloud servers have multiple redundant systems, there is always a backup and data loss is not a thing to worry about.
The centralized data center for the laboratory management system makes it possible to access data from anywhere in the world with authorization.
The maintenance of these servers is extremely cost-effective compared to the standalone LIMS.
As LIMS is cloud-based, it can connect multiple stakeholders. You can also have control over sample tracking, processing and delivering. And there is easy scalability in business.
The inter-connection of LIMS software servers also introduces the patients to the inside of the Laboratory Information Management System. Since the LIMS software made the information easily accessible, the patients can easily keep track of their records. This also helps patients to keep their personal health records up to date with no effort.
LIMS Beyond Limits:
The LIMS software, even though started as a record-keeping and managing healthcare solution, it has now evolved into a state of complete management solution. It has given a massive boost to the administration of the healthcare facility and also the financial management of the healthcare centers.
The LIMS software acts as an interface between the laboratory equipment and other devices. The Laboratory Information management System is capable of interfacing with the database in real-time to import and export data. It also acts as an interface between multiple devices within the lab for better coordination.
For instance, an MRI scanner is only a scanning machine with an image display unit and a control unit. But, with the LIMS software machine interface, the data from the scanner can be stored directly in the database to the respective patient name. It helps the doctors to analyze the data whenever required.
Time management is one of the most challenging objectives of management. The LIMS software used in today's healthcare facilities provides day to day management solutions besides healthcare solutions.
The LIMS software can make schedules for doctors and specialists. It also helps in scheduling for follow-ups and cancellation of appointments at the request of patients through IVRs and websites.
Since there is always a demand for the time slots to access the laboratory equipment and devices, including the high-cost scanners which are a rare resource, LIMS software can schedule their time slots in the most effective way.
In addition to these, the Laboratory Information Management System also has the in-house pharmacy records maintained, notifies the maintenance of laboratory equipment and other services.
The AI of LIMS and it's future:
The future of the Laboratory Information Management System has already shown us a glimpse of what it is capable of over the years.
The AI is definitely the future of every field and the Laboratory Information Management System is no exception. The introduction of LIMS software to artificial intelligence can automate pretty much everything in the laboratory management system and improve the qualities of healthcare solutions. Smart labs will be the newest addition to the list of healthcare solutions by the LIMS software.
The advancements in various supporting fields such as microfluidics, biometrics, lab-on-a-chip technologies, and their automation have ensured the steady progress of the Laboratory Information Management system. The day is not far when the AI Laboratory Information management System (AI LIMS) will be working along with humans and serve humanity.
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An Introduction to LIMS
Laboratory Information Management system (LIMS) is a software that is used in labs for data management and to process a large number of lab samples to manage laboratory workflow. With LIMS, the lab can automate workflows, integrate instruments, and manage samples and associated information. Additionally, labs can produce valid results quickly and can track data across experiments to improve efficiency.
LIMS that are commonly used in clinical labs fall under the below categories:
Clinical Chemistry Analyzers
Immunoassay Systems etc.
Benefits of using LIMS in your lab are:
Integrate instruments or other in-lab systems
Centralize access and storage of data
Track data from sequencing runs
Initiate downstream data analysis.
The Efficiency of LIMS:
The main purpose of using a LIMS in a lab is to improve the efficiency of sample processing and management. Using LIMS would cut down on the need for manual tasks thereby increasing the accuracy in sample analysis. LIMS captures data automatically, gets processed, and is stored for future reference. The LIMs vendor you choose will define the proceeding process of the software.
Generally, the process of a LIMS is divided into five stages:
The sample is logged in after reception.
Assignment, scheduling, and tracking of the sample and the analytical workload
Processing and quality control associated with the sample
Storage of data associated with the sample analysis
Inspection, approval, and compilation of the sample data for report generation and further analysis.
Types of LIS Modules Used In Clinical Laboratory:
The features of Laboratory Information system (LIS) have seen an evolutionary growth over the years from sample tracking to enterprise resource planning for clinical and specialty laboratories.
A typical workflow pattern of a LIS in a clinical lab flows through three phases:
Pre-analytical: Specimen collection.
Analytical: testing of the specimens.
Post-analytical: Result review.
The LIS modules are used by various laboratory departments like:
Various Common Functionalities Used In LIMS:
With the progress in technology, the functions of a LIMS progresses too. LIMS software is built in a way to support any upcoming progress while effectively working on a basic set of definite functionalities like the collection of data, tracking of sample, processing, data storage, and report generation.
Some of the core functionalities of LIMS are explained as below:
LIMS was originally created to help in the process of sample management systems occurring in laboratories. This system gets initiated when a sample is received in a laboratory and gets registered in a LIMS. Since a large number of samples are collected and analyzed in a day, it would be difficult to record the samples without the chance of being confused with other analysis. With LIMS, It would be easier to track the sample if it is labeled and assigned correctly by using RFID on the samples or barcodes.
The information collected and stored via a LIMS would fall under the following criteria:
1) Details about the person whose sample is taken
2) Details of the doctor/clinic who recommended for an analysis
3) The tests/analysis needed to be taken on the sample
4) Stages of the sample and destination
5) Storing procedures
6) Expected report generation date
7) Record creation for future purposes.
The need for workflow management using a LIMS is as important as Sample management and record-holding. The accuracy of a working system does not just depend on the data; it needs an on-point process assessment where a LIMS system can be used. As the name indicates, workflow management helps automate workflows and assign work if delegated precisely in the software.
All you would have to do for better workflow management using LIMS is:
Enter proper codes to direct the LIMS system for a work assignment
Configure the process flow of the work for sample analysis
Assign exact instruments for the particular work.
Workflow management using a LIMS saves time and conducts the job with precision.
Electronic Medical Record (EMR)/ Electronic Health Record (EHR) is software that collects and stores information on the patient’s medical history in the form of records that can be shared via different health care mediums. Many LIMS have this EMR/EHR functionality built-in in their system. Using a LIMS with EHR function will be a huge asset to your lab as the real-time data exchange can be made possible easily.
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Lab Management Software is simply a tool that can ease the operations involved in modern laboratories by automating most of them. As an all-inclusive software including lab management system, ERP tools, data analytics tool and virtual software, LIMS efficiently works out on the laboratory informatics. While each of the operations involved in LIMS is possible manually, why should one choose the software? Here is why:
1. LIMS is Error-free
Being error-free is the first and most important feature of LIMS software. Lab management being a tedious process involving many stages, the probability of data mismatch, incorrect readings, and erroneous updates are more when manually handled. Hence, an automated system such as Lab Information Management Software can largely help in ensuring record precision.
2. Centralized data access
LIMS extends to ease of access to patient records and reports. Thus, any referencing or verification of patient details can be done in a jiffy or shared with clinicians, technicians, and others instantly. It furthermore auto-updates critical values and crisis situations, thus ensuring immediate attention to the demanding cases.
3. Integrate with Instruments
Analysis and testing performed on clinical instruments can be directly linked with the Lab Information Management System. And LIMS shall automatically obtain test results from the instrument and store them in its primary database which can then be shared, reviewed and maintained at any point of time. This completely eliminates the need for manual handling that has very high chances of errors and is extremely time-consuming.
5. Sample Tracking
LIMS initiates a track record of the samples right at the point when a sample is collected from patients. The records maintained includes clinical reports, phenotypic information, freezer location, etc. In many cases, the freezer location is fed in detail such that the row, column, rack, box, and shelf are precisely specified. The software tool maintains a thorough track record of all freeze cycles and thaw cycles that the sample gets subjected to, details of collection center, clinician/lab technician who handled the sample, sample
movement tracking, and so on. With this information, LIMS makes 100% sure that the sample does not get mismatched or lost at any point of time during the entire course of the process.
6. Improve TAT
The overall time required from the start when the sample is collected until the reports are shared with patients/clinicians for further procedures, the manual handling is reduced, thus reducing error and the need for cross-verification at various points. LIMS also automatically manages and calibrates medical instruments connected with it and auto-updates in case of alarming readings/reports. This improves the overall Turnaround Time of the entire process.
7. Hassle-free workflow
LIMS automates workflow and records maintenance, thus saving a lot of time. As you codify the processes with LIMS, the software instructs as to which instrument is to be used next, which technician is supposed to handle the process in the following phase, and so on. Hence, manual intervention to instruct or direct record movement and tracking is largely cut. In other words, LIMS manages and assigns works to the lab technician and makes the process hassle-free on the whole.
8. Quicker Workflow
LIMS allows impeccable access to Doctors and Patients with their respective login portals. It has preset templates to generate and send across an invoice for patients and labs. Further, it is also easy to make a comparative analysis with the convenience of setting against previous reports and patient history, thus making enabling quicker workflow on the whole.
LIMS increases throughput and thus acts very productively. Automatically, the lab test results are shared across users. And patient history can be quickly referred to. The reports are synchronized with the physician EMR for quick access. In cases of abnormalities, automatic updates and alerts are raised without the need for manual intervention. The software also enables digital signing and cuts down on the wait time for approving a physical document.
10. Quality Control
Through the course of testing, the machine-driven analysis remains subject to change and may demand calibrations. With the help of effective Quality Control measures, identifying variations becomes very easy. Simply put, Quality Control helps in ensuring the accuracy and precision of data. Furthermore, QC results are stored as database and can be set against actual results, thus enabling complete control over deviations or errors, if any. With NABL and other lab accreditations, the quality of results and the workflow are guaranteed.
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