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What is a LIMS?

LIMS stands for Laboratory Information Management System. A LIMS purpose is to help improve laboratory operations by managing laboratory data, streamlining workflows and improving data quality. It helps you instil good practice and introduce quality control that increases efficiency, saves time and optimises resources. More than sample management, it also provides key evidence for regulatory compliance.

Achiever Laboratory Sample Management Software Processes Tree

How can a LIMS help my lab?

If you’re working with thousands of samples, it can take time to manually enter data into spreadsheets. There’s also a high risk of transcription errors or accidentally missing data. Plus, with manual and paper-based systems there are no details of what you did. You may find it difficult to reproduce results or have confidence in them. You may even have concerns about the quality of your samples.

LIMS solutions can transform your lab. Providing you with key features for sample and clinical data management and tracking as well as supporting your lab workflows.

The primary purpose of a LIMS is to help you track each sample’s complete life cycle. From initial sample receipt and associated data collection, through to storage, processing, analysing and finally to shipping, depletion or destruction. A LIMS also audits each action for complete traceability.

Achiever Medical LIMS Dashboard

 

What does Achiever Medical do for my lab?

Achiever Medical helps you to make every sample matter. Achiever Medical is a modern, web-based lab information management system trusted by labs and Biobanks of all sizes. Its core functionality includes sample and donor tracking. Its unique security and data encryption options help protect your sensitive data.

Advanced auditing and real-time, interactive data analysis highlight trends and improvements.

LIMS features

What functionality does a LIMS provide? It’s important to note that not all lab management systems are the same. Features, workflows, reports, integrations and prices will all vary. There’s lab information management software available for research and clinical labs of all sizes and complexities.

However, there are some things you should look out for in a good LIMS solution. These include:

What is LIMS - Laboratory Information Management System

  • extensive sample management, profiling and tracking capability
  • automated workflows – especially your critical lab processes
  • a comprehensive audit trail
  • freezer and storage management
  • barcode label printing and scanning
  • strong searching capability
  • recording test results
  • real-time analysis and reporting tools
  • configuration tools
  • integration with other applications including instrument based data transfer
  • user authentication and security permissions

Some advanced lab information management software may also include donor profiling with informed consent management. Some systems may also include tools to plan and manage studies and clinical trials.

Improving quality and quality control using lab software

One of the main reasons many labs use a LIMS 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 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.

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.

Helping your lab become ‘paperless’

LIMS - Helping your lab go paperless

Having a dedicated system to manage your lab data enables you to get rid of spreadsheets and paper-based forms. Unlike a spreadsheet that has no audit trail, lab information management software automatically records each time you update data. So, you can see exactly what has happened with each sample, when and by who.

Also, you can connect with other online systems, such as electronic notebooks (ELNB) and e-consent forms. This means you don’t have to print out lots of notes.

As a result of less paper, you’re reducing the risk of misplacing or losing important or sensitive data.

Simplifying collaboration

Sharing information and working in collaboration with other researchers and organisations could be pivotal to your success. You may have multiple teams working on a study or clinical trial. Alternatively, you may want to reuse or share samples with other researchers in your organisation – or even across other institutes. It can be difficult, if not impossible to do this, if your information is held in separate systems and spreadsheets. Simply knowing and finding what samples you have and want to make available for others to use can take time.

Laboratory data management software provides a central, searchable system for all your lab information. This allows researchers across different teams to see, work with and share information and resources.

In addition, cloud-based LIMS enable data to be accessed wherever you are with no setup or software installation required.

Benefits of a LIMS

A modern LIMS can deliver tangible improvements in quality, efficiency, productivity and accuracy. It can also give you intangible benefits including confidence in your data and ultimately your results.

However, it’s important to be aware that each system will offer you different benefits. This can be due to a number of factors including what technology the software uses. Find out more on the benefits of a laboratory information management system.

Considerations when choosing a LIMS

Every software system is different. Likewise not all labs are the same. Therefore, software titled ‘the best LIMS’ may not actually be right for you.

Before you start looking at systems you should define what you’re looking for. This isn’t just a list of requirements. Discover more on finding the system that’s right for you.

See how Achiever Medical LIMS can help you make very sample matter