A LIMS should be designed to form a natural support to your scientific skills.
What is a LIMS?
Less admin, more science
A Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is a software platform enabling users to effectively manage the flow of samples and associate data to support laboratory operations and enhance efficiency. Through the use of a LIMS, laboratories can automate workflows, tests and procedures, integrate instruments, provide a complete record of all samples, tests and results in the system via secure and comprehensive audit trails. LIMS helps labs streamline operations by making the move from paper to a digital environment, with the goal of saving time, money and reducing errors.
Management – LIMS provides centralized storage of all laboratory workflow and the subsidiary data required for quality control compliance
Automation – Enables complete workflow automation reducing the possibility of human error and speeding up
Accuracy – Assists in producing accurate, reproducible results and ensuring the use of calibrated instruments
Integration – Integrates with laboratory instruments or other in-lab systems providing completely digital environment
Traceability – One of the major benefits is the availability of a secure and reportable audit trail that is able to track all data within the system and any changes made to result, test procedure, instruments etc. are logged.
Regulatory Compliance – Assist labs with meeting strict regulatory requirements by tracking and reporting on the relevant data:
- ISO17025 – ISO15189
- CFR 21 Part 11
- NATA (or compliance body in each country)
- System validation
Besides for the above core functions, LIMS should also assist with other area’s of your quality management framework:
Repository Management – Know exactly where at your lab/facility samples are stored
Chain of Custody Management – Keep track of your samples even when they have left your lab
Corrective and Preventative Actions (CAPA) – tracking non conformance
Version Control – methods and SoP’s
Asset Management – instruments and laboratory equipment
Business Analytics – Keep track of KPI’S, turnovers
Who uses LIMS?
It is used by all members of the laboratory team from lab managers to lab technicians as it covers the entire workflow. Any laboratory in any industry can use LIMS, but they are most commonly found in environmental, pharmaceutical, medical, nutrition, food & beverage, manufacturing and quality assurance.
So what is the real function of LIMS in the lab?
Essentially a LIMS is a digital assistant for your lab. Working primarily as an administrator, it supports the lab operations by freeing up time and energy such that the real scientist can conduct their research at ease without having to deal with all paperwork that comes with lab management.
For more information relating to LIMS and discussion boards please visit the OnQ Software blog and also LIMS Wiki can be a good source.
Some reasons why people look at LIMS?
- Growing demand for transparency in testing
- Auditable results and removal of human error
- Pressure to meet testing demands with fewer resources
- Identify workload issues or bottlenecks
- Increased demand on automated reporting and testing
- Pressure to comply with new or increasingly tight industry regulations
- Replacement and/or consolidation of legacy systems