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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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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As labs are updated and become more modern, better methods of data management and record-keeping may be necessary in order to maintain or improve efficiency. Luckily, there is a means to achieve this: Laboratory Information Management Systems, or LIMS.
With the increase in disease and the growth in medical diagnosis sector, the number of samples collected is increasing day by day. With the help of Machine interfacing, labs can handle a large volume of samples easily, increasing the efficiency of sample processing and quality of lab reports.
Types of Machine Interfacing in LIMS:
Unidirectional instruments perform one-way communication between the samples and LIMS. Results will be stored in the LIMS after the completion of the rest. The technician has to perform sample placement manually and decide on what type of sampling to be done.
The bi-directional Instruments are more sophisticated and advanced as they can generate both output data reports and results while also having an Application Programming Interface (API) to import data, information, commands, functions, worklists etc. into the system.
Our LIMS sends commands to the sampling unit on the type of sampling to be conducted with the given sample. After the testing is done by the LIMS command, the results are auto-fetched on the LIMS Server. The bi-directional instruments are interfaced with the LIMS system programmatically.
The need to Interface Instruments with LIMS:
There are a number of reasons why it is beneficiary to interface lab instruments with LIMS. Let us look into a few reasons here:
Increase in Productivity by Effective Machine Utilization:
Interfacing your instruments to your LIMS is a one-time investment of cost and work with a repetitive increase in lab productivity and effectiveness. Interfacing LIMS to your lab instruments removes many complexities like manual entering of data every time or referring data from other instruments to the LIMS. This altogether saves a lot of time and effort when done by a LIMS rather than manually, also avoiding any human errors during data entry.
Utilizing machine effectively can increase the productivity drastically. When the task is done manually, very fewer samples are completely analyzed in the given time period, but with MI they can perform many sample processing and that will increase machine utilization and increase revenue.
Increase in Data Quality by Reducing Manual Errors:
The second best reason for interfacing your lab instruments to your LIMS is the increase in the data quality and integrity. As a human, we are eligible to commit human errors that might not be over influential over the system as a whole, but might still be considered as an error. By removing the human interference, these errors are avoided thereby guaranteeing better data transfer in the system.
Similarly, transcribing data into the system by people can also lead to common errors affecting the quality of data. Data integrity is considered a very important issue in laboratories. By interfacing your instruments to your LIMS, you will eliminate this issue.
Saves Time in output generation thereby satisfying the patients:
Machine Interfacing helps to analyze the given samples at a faster rate and generates quality results within a lesser duration of time. After result processing is done, the report will be generated manually.
With the use of MI, ultimate patient satisfaction can be achieved by generating the results in a quick manner with good quality.
Machine interfacing in laboratories is more of a comfort rather than a negative factor. What might be a one-time investment in your labs can save a lot of time and work when interfaced properly with your systems.
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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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Orbito Asia Labs and scans is a comprehensive healthcare facility for imaging and diagnostic purposes. It contains the latest infrastructure with best medical facilities operated by experienced and certified lab technicians with support staffs. They strive to provide ultimate diagnostic services to their patients at an affordable price. They operate in about 20 locations and also have many processing centers across Tamilnadu and Bangalore.
The main reason why Orbito Asia approached MocDoc was to manage multiple collection centers in different areas, also to keep track of samples and information about the patients, since they were using an offline software these operations were not possible. MocDoc LIMS provided them with the best solutions for their problems and proved as a handy software for managing multiple lab centers.
Challenges & Solutions:
MocDoc has always produced masterly solutions to many problems arising in the healthcare industry. Here is a list of problems Orbito Asia faced and its solutions,
Adapting to technology
Orbito Asia was handling their entire management process with offline software. As the magnitude of their labs kept increasing they opted to go for online software to increase their scalability and for better automation. Ultimately a ﬁrm that prides itself in having the latest technology didn’t want an ofﬂine software to hinder its progress.
MocDoc provided them a fully integrated software known as MocDoc LIMS which allowed them to work online also rectify all the problems that they were facing while using offline software.MocDoc LIMS also increased data security of the patients by following a centralized data storage method(SaaS).
Managing multiple centres
Orbito Asia is having multiple centers across Tamilnadu so they needed a proper software to organize their centers and tracking samples. They also needed solutions for organizing their tie-ups with other labs for B2B modules. So they eventually needed online software to perform multi-center organizing and sample tracking efficiently.
MocDoc resolved all their problems by providing them with a fully integrated software which helped them to carry out their expansions in multiple locations, and also delivered propitious results in sample tracking and managing B2B’s to which Orbito Asia have collaborated with.
Avoiding duplicate registrations
Orbito Asia was following a manual entry of information regarding patient details, sample information, center details in their previous offline software this created a situation of having duplicate entries. Also, offline software didn’t have the features to stay connected with multiple locations.
MocDoc approached them with deft solutions on rectifying all their problems which they previously faced. Our software supported Orbito Asia to collect all information about patients and Centers in a secure and organized manner, after which Orbito Asia has shown rapidly reduced errors in data collection and in duplicate entries.
Tracking samples and result collaberation
Results for tests in Orbito Asia labs were often delayed due to lack of features in their offline software for sample tracking, also they were facing some difﬁculties to track the revenue of their centers, outsourcing details, and their payment methods this lead to a major problem in maintaining track records about company expenditures.
MocDoc provided them with a Home Collection application which precisely helped them to correct the problems in sample tracking also this helped them to reduce the turnaround time for collecting test results. For managing B2B relations MocDoc software allows them to easily track their invoices and pending payments since MocDoc is an online SaaS software we provide all results instantly without any delay.
Sending real time updates using multimedia
Orbito Asia labs had to send regular updates to all the partner labs, marketing executives and the patients that visit their lab. Due to the lack of bulk messaging facility, these updates were given in the form of individual messages and emails causing heavy workload and at times erroneous conveyance of messages.
With the help of MocDoc LIMS OrbitoAsia was able to send real-time updates of test results to the patient and also information was conveyed easily to marketing executives without any delay. The additional feature of using our software was it allows labs to also send bulk messages to their patients this reduced the workload drastically.
OrbitoAsia were able to efficiently maintain multiple Centers.
Managing and tracking samples were much easier in MocDoc LIMS.
Consistent Real-time accurate results is an added advantage.
OrbitoAsia were able to send bulk messages and e-mails also they were able to maintain Data privacy.
Reduced workload and improved efficiency in providing propitious results.
Orbito Asia has gained more than 70% of customer satisfaction this year. MocDoc LIMS simplified their entire process through their integrated scalable solutions. OrbitoAsia evaluated 100’s of software and in that, they selected MocDoc software mainly for these three reasons,
Ease of use
Best Support services
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