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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Investment in health is the best way of investment to lead a full and healthy life. People have started to invest in health and undergo health check-up regularly. People have started to realize that prevention is better than cure, and what better way to prevent than getting regularly tested and check on the well-being.
As the number of labs outgrows every day, utilization of machines to collect samples is also increasing. When labs get more samples to process from various sources, machine interfacing is helping labs in making their work easier and faster. In this blog, let’s discuss some of the best and modern ways by which labs can collect patient samples, avoiding all the hassle. The 4 efficient ways for lab sample collection are:
Walk-in sample Collection
Collection of the sample at Home
Business to business Sample collection
Franchise based sample collection
Walk-in Sample Collection:
This method of sample collection is the most personal easily accessible way to collect samples from patients. In this era of online-based life, it is a step towards betterment that laboratory tests are also made available with ease of access.
Patients can directly walk-in to the laboratories and give the samples. Labs will process the sample in the laboratory and give reports. In case, the samples need to be processed by main processing centers, the samples will be sent to the main processing centers and then collected back by the laboratories after the processing is over. Patients will be able to collect their detailed report from the laboratories they visited.
Sample Collection at Home:
For many patients, deviation in health is a sensitive issue. Sometimes trustworthy lab institutes might be far away from the patient’s home. This leads to long hours of travel and long hours of waiting for the test to be taken by patients. The whole process might be a bit demotivating for the patients and the increase in their stress.
In this case, labs will visit the patient home and collect samples for testing. Healthcare industry is reaching new heights by making it possible for patients to remain in their safe confinement and get their health tested at their comfortable time without physically leaving their home.
After collecting the samples it will be processed in the labs or sent to the main processing center and a detailed report will be obtained and sent to the patients.
Home Sample Collection is beneficial for:
Patients who are bedridden
Chronically ill patients
Business to Business Sample collection lab:
There are more competitors in the field of healthcare than in any other field. Their competition is that they perform better in serving for the health of other people. This service needs to be done in an effective and time-saving manner which would put the patient at ease with the laboratory.
Business to business helping for sample collection can help you gain more recipients and number of doctors recommending your clinic. Two or more businesses who are specialized in various fields of laboratory testing can partner up together and jointly help each other in each field. Big labs can partner with small labs and collect samples.
This way the businesses can direct patients who need specific tests in a diagnostic not available in their own lab but available in the partner's lab. Business to business sample collection can help them mutually gain a lot of patients and thereby trust in the system.
Franchise based Sample Collection Lab:
Establishing a fully equipped diagnostic center in a city is viewed more than a business opportunity and as a service to the better health of mankind. Such diagnostic labs should be working in their 100 percent capacity with state of the art equipment that delivers quality results.
Attaining such a high level of quality for sample collection lab is difficult if you start out fresh. It would be best to join an already established company and start a new franchise that can help in diagnostic sample collection.
Having a franchise with a top company in sample collection and diagnostics will help you better in getting more patients to the lab and better management of the center.
With the already established name and fame of the company, the job for you would be easy.
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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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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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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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