Improving quality and quality control using lab information management software in your lab
The main purpose of a LIMS for many labs is to improve quality. This is not just limited to data quality but also quality across products and service delivery. The software helps to do this in several ways by:
- providing data management tools that help validate and standardise your information
- automating laboratory workflows to save time, enforce consistency and effectively manage standard procedures
- data import and integration capabilities to remove data duplication and re-entry and as a result reduce risks of human error
- introducing quality control measures such as approvals processes, data analysis tools and automated alerts
- automatically auditing actions performed for monitoring and traceability. This gives you chain of custody data and and you can also use this information to assess sample viability
- increasing visibility of data, products and resources while still protecting sensitive information
- helping labs meet regulatory compliance such as Human Tissue Act (HTA), MHRA, CFR 21 Part 11 and accreditations like ISO 17025, by providing evidence for compliance through real time data analysis and reports.
Using a LIMS to increase efficiency
Using software to automate workflows in your lab can help you increase efficiency. Although this is only true if your processes are working well in the first place.
At its most basic a LIMS provides sample and laboratory data management and tracking. It can support your critical lab workflows from initial sample receipt and associated data collection, through to storage, processing, analysing and finally to shipping, depletion or destruction.
Some LIMS come with standard lab processes ‘out-of-the-box’ for workflow management. You can take advantage of these if they match your lab operations. However, being able to configure existing or new processing into the software offers you the best option.
Mapping your workflows into the lab information system also helps ensure consistency and enforce protocols. What’s more, the software guides and prompts your team through each process. All this can help you save time on system training.
Data import and integration functions can help you bring in data from other systems such as samples test results from instruments. This helps your lab improve productivity by reducing data duplication and re-keying.