March 30, 2021
Modern omics has led to increased data volumes and sample throughput along with frequent changes in technology. This has created a need for laboratories to modernize their approach towards managing, tracking, and centralizing laboratory data. A Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) enables laboratories to effectively manage samples and associated data, automate workflows, integrate with analytical instruments, meet regulatory compliance, make informed decisions, and improve efficiency.
Why should a laboratory invest in a LIMS when all operations performed by a LIMS are also possible manually? Let us delve into the benefits a LIMS offers to answer this question.
1. Eliminates Manual Errors
Laboratory management is challenging as it involves several stages. There is more probability of data mismatch, incorrect readings, and data redundancy when handled manually. A LIMS aids in precisely recording the data by reducing or eliminating manual intervention.
2. Ease of Access
A LIMS provides easy centralized data access to sample records, documents, staff training records, test results, and audit reports. A LIMS enables laboratory personnel to trace new or legacy records in a few clicks. Tracing records manually may take several minutes to hours depending upon the volume of laboratory data, reducing efficiency.
3. Integrates with Analytical Instruments
A LIMS can be integrated with analytical instruments for bi-directional data transfer, preserving data integrity. A LIMS stores test results and associated analytical data which can be shared, reviewed, validated by laboratory managers, and used for generating reports. Instrument integration eliminates the need for manual data handling that is error-prone and time-consuming.
4. Shares Test Results in Real-Time
A LIMS overcomes the hassle of sharing test results. It tracks the progress of laboratory testing from time to time. A LIMS notifies analysts and laboratory managers as soon as the results are available in the system. Furthermore, laboratory staff can share test reports and invoices through the client portal or email once the result validation process is complete, reducing turnaround time.
5. Tracks Samples Throughout the Sample Life Cycle
A LIMS facilitates real-time tracking of samples, right from the time they are received in a laboratory until they are disposed of. Records such as sample and test reports, location of samples, details of collection center, details of personnel who handled each sample are maintained by a LIMS.
6. Automates Laboratory Workflows
The manual process of instructing or directing laboratory personnel for performing tasks is eliminated once a LIMS comes into action. Whether it is to instruct which instrument to be used in a process, or which technician is supposed to handle the process in a particular step, a LIMS does all with its workflow management functionality. This leads to a hassle-free process along with saving a lot of time.
7. Surges Revenue
A LIMS is capable of generating financial, operational, and inventory reports which help laboratory managers and owners analyze data and make strategic decisions for the smooth operation of laboratories. Moreover, this enables them to project future trends and make data-driven decisions to increase revenues.
8. Removes Data Silos
A LIMS facilitates automatic data exchange among laboratory staff, departments, and organizations. Decision-making for internal operations of a laboratory becomes easier when collective suggestions are obtained. A LIMS helps remove data silos by consolidating laboratory data into a centralized system and sharing it with all stakeholders based on their roles.
A LIMS helps laboratories to improve efficiency and reduce costs. It is good to invest in LIMS if you want to stay more efficient and ahead of competitors. Adhering to legislation is yet another convincing reason for investing in a LIMS. A LIMS enables effective management of samples, equipment, and staff, saves time, streamlines processes, and much more. Hence, it is worth investing in a LIMS.
It is always better to calculate the ROI to determine if it is worth investing in a LIMS. ROI can provide you with an evidence-based justification for investing in a LIMS. For calculating ROI, it is important to consider all expenses involved in managing laboratory operations manually, such as the cost of notebooks, spreadsheets, etc. Not only the material cost but the time and effort required to process everything manually must be considered while calculating ROI. A cloud-based SaaS LIMS reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) to maximize the ROI. A cloud-based LIMS can be accessed from any internet-ready device. It eliminates the need for servers, IT personnel, or hardware, making it more cost-efficient. A SaaS LIMS supports the Pay As You Go (PAYG) payment method where users need to pay only for the services availed by them and need not spend on maintaining IT resources.
A LIMS is of crucial importance for all laboratories as well as medical and scientific organizations. Its capabilities such as sample t management, custom report generation, inventory management, and centralized data storage, make it suitable for all laboratories. Laboratory staff can manage a large amount of data by using a LIMS and can benefit from data visualization tools for decision-making. Immediate alerts, automatic calculations, quality control, and task planning aid in making laboratory processes more efficient and error-proof. A LIMS also aids laboratories in following regulatory compliance, such as ISO/IEC 17025, ISO 15189, GLP, 21 CFR Part 11. Hence, investing in a LIMS is certainly the right choice for all laboratories.