July 16, 2020
Most laboratories across the world are grappling with a data deluge and are constantly looking for ways to effectively manage data. With the rapid advancement of technology, old school laboratories have now modernized. Modern laboratories need to store huge amounts of data, automate workflows, and meet evolving regulatory requirements. Hence, laboratories have now switched to advanced data and quality management tools, one of which is, Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).
A LIMS is a database system for maintaining records of work or activities carried out in a laboratory with a date and time stamp. Sample tracking, traceability, data collection, workflow automation, and report generation are the major needs of any laboratory. A LIMS helps laboratories automate their data entry processes, manage inventory, streamline their workflows, and assure quality. It reduces time spent on locating samples and records, entering data, calculating results, and generating reports. Hence, a LIMS not only increases the efficiency of a laboratory but also the pace of research and analysis, assisting compliance with quality and regulatory standards at the same time.
Some of the ways in which laboratories have realized the benefits of a LIMS are as follows:
A LIMS helps a laboratory go completely paperless by automating laboratory processes, thereby increasing throughput and ensuring data integrity. It minimizes turnaround times by the complete removal of manual processes. A LIMS helps retrieve the data quickly during regulatory audits, reduces human errors, and eliminates any possibility of data loss or false reporting. A LIMS also prevents the use of outdated or uncalibrated instruments for analytical testing, assuring accuracy and the quality of test results.
It is difficult to track samples without using barcodes, as the sample information has to be entered manually at every step of the analysis. A LIMS allows entering the critical information about a sample, such as the sample source, the date, time, and location of collection, and sample processing data.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires an “audit trail” to track all laboratory activities. The activities should be tracked when a record is created, modified, or deleted. A LIMS helps in maintaining a read-only audit trail to comply with the regulatory guidelines. A LIMS automatically records all laboratory activities with a date and time stamp.
A LIMS also enables laboratories to authenticate key laboratory activities using electronic signatures, thereby complying with 21 CFR Part 11 guidelines.
A Cloud-based LIMS eliminates the need to purchase and install expensive software or pay large amounts up front for hardware infrastructure. This reduces the deployment time, enabling laboratories to get started quickly contrary to an on-premise LIMS. Changes to the LIMS can be done remotely, and updates are performed automatically without the help of IT personnel.
Hence, using a LIMS can bring multiple benefits to laboratories such as improved efficiency, reduced costs, improved customer satisfaction, and better compliance with regulatory and quality standards. If you are looking for a LIMS system, you can sign up for FreeLIMS to seamlessly manage data and automate your laboratory workflows.