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Streamlining Sample Tracking With LIMS Software

Streamlining sample tracking with LIMS software improves efficiency and accuracy across laboratory operations. With a centralized data management system, labs can optimize their processes and achieve a favorable return on investment.

LIMS systems like QBench provide advanced automation features in a flexible no-code platform. This enables you to configure and adjust automations to align with your lab’s specific workflows.

1. Streamlined Data Entry

The best LIMS systems are designed to streamline and automate workflows, helping labs save time and focus on the work that matters. LIMS software can also help laboratories improve accuracy and reduce errors, as many manual data entry tasks are prone to human error.

Sample Registration and Barcoding

Once a sample is registered in the LIMS, it is assigned a unique barcode which acts as a digital fingerprint that ensures traceability throughout its journey in the lab. This enables labs to keep a detailed backlog and chain of custody of each and every sample, essential for regulated laboratories.

Instrument Tracking

Most labs have a variety of instruments that require regular maintenance and calibration, including liquid handlers, QC instrumentation, and sequencers. A LIMS can help labs keep on top of these routine tasks and prevent issues by automatically sending notifications when maintenance is due.

Look for a customizable LIMS that lets you adapt the system to match your exact laboratory workflows. A configurable LIMS will enable you to make changes without coding or needing to contact your IT team, and will be flexible enough to scale as your lab grows.

2. Real-Time Data Synchronization

LIMS enables seamless and accurate data synchronization between the various processes in labs, allowing for real-time tracking of samples. This helps to eliminate misplaced or forgotten samples and provides a clear chain of custody for each sample.

The first step is the registration of each sample, where it is assigned a unique barcode that acts as a digital fingerprint for the sample throughout its lifecycle in the laboratory. The system then meticulously tracks every aspect of the sample’s movement, storage, and testing phases, ensuring that there is always an auditable trail.

In addition, the system also keeps a log of each sample’s location and status so that scientists can easily find what they need without any time-consuming searches. It also enables them to monitor performance trends and make adjustments accordingly. With custom LIMS application development, laboratories can also customize the system for perfect integration with their instruments and scientific hardware to prevent costly device incompatibilities and cross-format issues. This eliminates the need to manually enter data from siloed legacy applications that result in delays and lack of enterprise level visibility.

3. Automated Data Analysis

In order to ensure that samples are properly analyzed and results recorded, LIMS software interfaces with different types of analytical instruments, fetches the results automatically and enters them into the worksheet for you. This eliminates data errors and provides a complete chain of custody of your sample data. LIMS systems also provide review and approval processes at each process step as a form of checks and balances to protect your data quality.

Finally, a LIMS can help you automate your inventory and equipment tracking, as well as create Shewhart charts (also known as Statistical Process Control (SPC) tools) that can alert you to out-of-control test results. This enables you to identify problems in your laboratory workflow, and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your entire operation.

While it is possible to develop your own laboratory information management system, it’s often easier and cheaper to choose a tried-and-tested commercial solution. Ensure that the provider you choose offers training and support to get your team up-and-running quickly and easily, and can answer questions on a regular basis.

4. Reagent Tracking

A key component of any laboratory workflow is managing the inventory of reagents and supplies. With a LIMS system, users can track reagents by lot number, expiration date and reorder status. This enables laboratories to optimize reordering processes, reduce storage costs and improve workflows.

A LIMS software ensures sample integrity by ensuring a complete chain of custody from collection through analysis, storage and disposal. Moreover, it provides transparency by recording all changes made to data and maintaining a secure audit trail. This prevents sample mix-ups or loss and enables compliance with regulatory mandates and quality standards.

Whether your lab is a small biobank or large research facility, it’s important to select a LIMS system that can be tailored to fit your specific needs. During your search, look for a user-friendly interface and the ability to customize the system for your unique process. Also, be sure the LIMS is scalable and can grow with your lab without costly upgrades or overhauls. Finally, make sure the system supports automation and integration capabilities to maximize operational efficiency.

5. Regulatory Compliance

Using LIMS software with unique sample identifiers and barcoding systems enables labs to meet the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) requirements for testing procedures. Additionally, a well-designed LIMS platform provides real-time reporting and data visualization tools that enable labs to monitor turnaround times, sample usage patterns, and other key performance metrics. Ultimately, this empowers lab managers to make informed decisions based on their own unique needs and ensures compliance with industry standards and regulations.

A robust LIMS can also help laboratories comply with industry-specific requirements, including cGMP for pharmaceutical companies, ISO 17025 for water and food testing laboratories, and NELAC for a variety of biobanking applications. Additionally, LIMS can automate client workflows to reduce manual documentation processes and streamline the process of submitting samples, providing status updates, and delivering results. The result is a significant reduction in errors due to transcription and a more accurate snapshot of a sample’s current state. Ultimately, this helps organizations avoid the costly consequences of non-compliance. The use of LIMS software can also improve quality assurance practices by establishing and enforcing standard protocols to minimize data entry errors and ensure accuracy. This article is written by Morain – he is doing digital marketing internship at DMC.

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