How LIMS Can Make Your Lab More Efficient
LIMS stands for laboratory information management system. It is a program that makes labs run more efficiently by integrating various lab tasks like inventory, testing, and quality control into one central database. The lab management software can be tailored for the type of testing done at each specific lab and most systems are modular so they can be expanded upon as the need arises.
Lab management software is useful for labs of all sizes including small ones since it reduces the risk of human error and increases the accuracy of test results. Many routine tasks once performed by lab staff can be performed automatically by LIMS. This includes instrument calibration and calculation of scientific formulas. LIMS has an internal means of double-checking its results and alerts lab personnel to results that fall out of the expected range.
Lab management software analyzes stored data and extracts what is necessary to create reports as required for compliance inspections. In fact, LIMS is very useful for quality control and making sure your lab stays in compliance with state regulations. It automatically runs the required periodic reviews and alerts the appropriate personnel when action needs to be taken.
LIMS systems have in-depth inventory tracking capabilities that can use barcodes and RF tags. Lab management software makes it easy to keep track of specimens stored in box configurations in cold storage or liquid nitrogen units. The system can also monitor cold storage temperatures, maintain them as needed, and alert staff when temperatures fall out of the optimum range.
The trend in lab management software today is towards web-based implementation. This makes it easy for even small labs without IT departments to get their system set up and running. The system vendor maintains all the hardware and software updates. There is no installation necessary in the lab itself. Rather, the LIMS system is accessed through a traditional web browser and secure internet connection.
LIMS can be configured to work with any type of lab, medical, dental, geological, fertility labs, and labs with multiple site locations. Different labs will require different types of services. Lab management software is usually sold in modules so you only have to pay for the services that your lab uses.
The cost of lab management software varies according to the number of modules your lab requires and whether you opt for hosted web based LIMS or if you buy the software upfront and install it yourself. Expect to pay into the thousands of dollars for the initial set up and an ongoing monthly fee of hundreds of dollars if you choose the web based version.
There are many versions of LIMS on the market being sold by various vendors. Before you decide which system you want to go with, you should bring several vendors into your lab. Let them recommend the best solution for your lab and offer you an estimate. Consult with your IT department for advice on using workstation based software versus web bases lab management software.
As someone who works with sophisticated lab equipment knows, technological advancements make systems and equipment obsolete in fairly short order. If you have a medical lab, you want to offer your clients and patients the very latest in testing technology, so choose a lab management software vendor that has a long standing good reputation for frequently updating their LIMS system to keep pace with current trends.