Laboratory information management system (LIMS) is not a new term, but most people don’t know how to use it.
Generally, a laboratory information management system is a lab software type that deals with all information relating to the laboratory for things like results reporting, data analysis, and sample tracking.
This article will discuss many areas revolving around LIMS, including some of the core components of laboratory information management system, how it can help in running a lab efficiently, and the benefits it brings.
Therefore, if you don’t know how to select a suitable LIMS for your laboratory, continue reading.
The Meaning of Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)
Laboratory Information Management System is among the most outstanding software that offers support and solution to complex laboratory processes. This system is used widely across research institutions and industries to accurately distil and manage many data to deliver greater and faster results.
LIMS works by providing an excellent system to standardise, track, centralise and organise all processes, tasks, and data in the lab. In general, a Laboratory Information Management System is a database but works in a complicated manner.
The Core LIMS Components
An excellent LIMS system consists of three main components: protocol execution, sample tracking, and storage organisation. It is extremely difficult to make sure all data is with no error when different researchers in a lab employ different methods.
Therefore, many research labs and industries rely on LIMS to ensure all data results are mistake-free.
1. LIMS Protocol Execution
It is a major component that drives the lab’s procedures, steps, and workflow standardisation. It ensures that every available lab tech follows a specific procedure when processing a certain sample.
The LIMS process flow should be followed regardless of the person processing the samples to get repeatable and accurate results. A Laboratory Information Management System PDF called standard operating procedure (SOP) has all steps to be followed.
Laboratory Information Management System procedures and protocols are standardised across the lab; hence all lab staff will execute the right steps when running test samples in the correct order.
2. LIMS Software Sample Tracking
The main work of the LIMS tracking system is to follow the transformation of a certain sample from the time it enters the lab through testing and storage. Therefore, the management system will record all associated data for a sample upon accession. Information to be recorded include:
- Collection date
- Quantitative information
The sample’s data is continuously taken as it progresses in its workflow and all data stored in LIMS, which include:
- Derived sample data
- Test results
- Time-based study metric
Additionally, a laboratory information management system tracks the person interacting with the sample and where. Therefore, the lab sample should not be tracked only by the external barcode label but with the chemical index allocated for easy identification.
3. LIMS Storage Organisation
This is responsible for tracking the sample throughout its lifecycle in the lab. The laboratory information management system deals with an individual sample from a particular box is stored in the sample vial or tube kept in.
Also, it keeps track of the drawer box and the drawer rack the sample is stored in together with the shelf of the rack and the room number. The storage hierarchy plays an important role in locating a particular sample easily, and it includes:
Why Use LIMS In Modern Labs?
Today’s laboratories analyse and process a large amount of information, most of them without a LIMS system. The chances of getting errors in results are very high since accuracy and speed are affected negatively.
In some industries, it can mean a delay in launching a new product in the market, and some can be a delay in the life-saving vaccine. Therefore, it is important to have an online management system for lab accuracy, organisation, and collaboration.
A LIMS system can help ab staff to stay connected considering collaboration views. It is easy to assign sample tasks to team members since everyone has a protocol to be followed.
It is easy to annotate, comment, and share documents within the lab if LIMS is in place to help. All emails and phone calls are recorded hence making it easy to collaborate with eternal parties.
Advantage of Laboratory Information Management System
Having a central system that collects and manages all lab information is the biggest benefit that LIMS software can offer. This benefit is regardless of the size of the lab. Information on instruments, inventories, and studies can be kept in one central location for easy access among lab staff members.
Additionally, LIMS offers collaboration, reporting, and analytics functionality hence making all captured data useful.
So, what is the best LIMS type to use? The answer will depend on individual and lab needs. Clear organisation and greater efficiency benefits are seen when using LIMS systems, hence modern labs’ main reason.