Let’s begin with answering the next question: what is lims? Firstly, lims stands for a laboratory information management system, so the more appropriate phrasing will be “what is a LIMS?” A lims is software that provides laboratories in different parts of the world with data management, automation, and regulatory solutions. In terms of functions, a lims is similar to many other data management systems used in various industries.
A lims allows managing the flow of samples and connected data efficiently, which helps improve the overall lab performance. At the same time, you can integrate instruments into a lims for automating test data collection and ensure that these instruments are properly operated by professional staff. Lims is widely used in various organizations that focus on research and development, including universities, biobanks, or clinical research facilities.
Who uses LIMS?
There can be different industries that apply a laboratory information management system (lims) for managing their laboratory data efficiently. Here are some main industries that use lims systems:
Clinical research and diagnostics
In this industry, organizations use lims solutions for managing patient data and specimen information, maintaining different test records or test results, generating reports, and automating laboratory workflows.
Biobanks and biorepositories
Companies implement a lims system for tracking biological samples and managing their storage locations. That provides smooth retrieval of the samples, along with the associated information.
Food and beverage testing laboratories
In such laboratories, the information management system lims are used for managing food and beverage samples, maintaining test records, generating reports, and automating laboratory workflows.
Cannabis Testing Laboratories
These organizations apply laboratory information management systems for managing clients, testing orders and cannabis samples, conducting tests for cannabinoid or pesticide levels, heavy metal, and terpenes, and generating a Certificate of Analysis (COA).
Oil and gas testing laboratories
In the particular type of laboratories, employees use lims software for managing sample batches, testing schedules, monitoring samples, and reviewing and validating results while providing complete traceability required for external auditing.
Agriculture testing laboratories
Here, lims software is applied for managing sample types, including soil, seeds, insects, oils, flowers, and many more. Such laboratories tend to book, track, and test samples, maintain quality control and generate test reports. Thus, lims facilitate growers to make effective decisions in their field.
What are the Benefits of LIMS?
An appropriate laboratory information management system provides multiple advantages related to laboratory data management. Thus, the several key benefits of lims are:
The lims helps labs monitor samples across the laboratory effectively and allows allocating storage locations that imitate the sample storage hierarchy.
Workflows with lims are automated, which results in decreasing potential human errors thanks to the elimination of the data’s manual entry.
Lims software solutions provide an up-to-date user interface that meets the unique requirements of various laboratories and mirrors their current laboratory workflows.
Lims allow for secure and restricted data access, which leads to enhanced data privacy and protection. That places security among the critical advantages of lims.
Along with data mining options, providing an easy data backup is also among the key benefits of a lims since the efficient laboratory information management system can resolve different data accessibility issues.
Lims helps labs mirror the existing laboratory staff hierarchy in real-time by applying access distribution that depends on user roles.
Ease of reporting
Lims can generate reports quickly regarding the different tests performed, information necessary for auditing and analysis.
Streamlined billing process
Management a lims allows organizations to streamline the billing process thanks to the invoice generation process and integration with different payment portals, which is one of the crucial benefits of lims.
Workflows with lims are compliant easily with regulatory acts such as HIPAA, ISO 15189, EU GDPR, ISO 20387, Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), and many more. That helps provide the appropriate lims validation.
Traditionally, a lab management system covers the sample’s journey from the induction to a relevant laboratory till the end of the sample’s life cycle. Thus, a lims facilitates the following stages: Sample Storage, Testing, Reporting, and, of course, Archiving. After introducing a sample into a laboratory, the laboratory information management system operation begins with accessioning the particular sample onto the system. Then, lims solutions help assign it with a certain identification number. Finally, when a sample is moving through the laboratory, the related lims data can be updated in lims for maintaining the audit trail.
Types of LIMS
Depending on the nature of the laboratory work, there can be many various types of lims in operation. Actually, ask people involved in laboratories process development about the laboratory information system, and you can get different definitions of a lims system. It means that the information management system lims is quite dynamic and fast-paced, while lims implementation can also vary across the companies.
In addition, different types of laboratory information management systems have various functionalities. That depends on the requirements of the particular lab, which uses commercial lims to maintain effective lab processes and information flow. For example, you can choose a laboratory management system that is focused on data capture, system info, and relevant storage options. Ultimately, each lims system operates quite differently; however, there are many common lims features that organizations highly appreciate for lims application.
Functions of a LIMS
An effective lims can balance both record keeping and report generation. Below we provide a list of core lims software features and functions:
Sample management serves as a critical purpose of a lims. A lims is used for managing detailed and accurate records of all samples and storing them securely. That helps eliminate data loss since it moves between the relevant departments.
The appropriate inventory management is also among the crucial lims software features that play an important role in the laboratory’s day-to-day management. For example, a lims allows managing stock supplies and reagents. Besides, a lims generates automatic reorder alerts when stock is depleted.
A lims allows standardizing testing workflows and provides full and accurate control over the testing processes. In addition, a lims brings an opportunity to manage tests conducted on the samples’ batch, promotes easy entry of the particular results, tracks their approval or validation, and generates reports.
Reporting is an essential purpose of lims that helps laboratories achieve the entire view of information collected, along with potential trends, and reduces reporting overhead of a lab. A lims allows generating multiple reports such as sample tracking, test results, QC data, and so on.
Modern lims solutions can be purchased commercially or developed in-house. They allow labs to focus on science instead of spending resources and time on the development of inappropriate solutions that may become hard for validating and maintaining.
At the same time, lims or laboratory information management system solutions vary depending on the functions provided by vendors or specific industry needs.
Here we list the most advanced solutions regarding management a lims systems that correspond to the requirements of labs in different industries.
This industry-neutral lims is software that serves as an efficient solution to increase productivity and improve lab responsiveness through regulated and non-regulated industries such as pharma and medical.
Such lims work perfectly in bioanalytical labs. They facilitate data transmission, streamline lims validation, instrument interfacing, sample tracking, and report generation, and allow addressing regulatory compliance issues.
Labware is recognized among the best lims solutions for enterprise needs. Apart from powerful workflow capabilities, this lims offers SOP compliance, multiple dashboards, data visualization, and different instrument management options.
The particular lims platform is available only for its subscribers. This lims provides data tracking, effective resource management, and operational support.
Being the sample management software, such lims platforms simplify operations conducted in biobanking and biorepositories, laboratory workflows in specific research organizations, and loading data collected by clinical laboratories, pharmaceuticals, or hospitals.
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