A Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is software that allows you to manage samples and data to enhance lab productivity. It is a software-based solution that supports modern laboratory operations. Its key feature includes flexible architecture and data tracking support. LIMS or Laboratory Information System features have evolved over the years from tracking to enterprise resource planning that handles multiple aspects of laboratory informatics.
Earlier, LIMS and PDES (Process Development Execution System) have performed similar functions. LIMS referred to informatics targeted for research and commercial analysis such as petrochemical work. In modern times, LIMS functionality has spread beyond its original purpose of sample management. It helps tests and procedures, standardizes workflows, and provides accurate controls of the process.
Let us understand the role, features, and purpose of LIMS.
What is LIMS?
A LIMS or Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is software that addresses the data management and regulatory challenges of laboratories across the globe. It is used to manage samples and associated data, thus standardizing operations by reporting procedures. Earlier, the LIMS system was developed to keep a check of the movement of samples in a laboratory.
Since then, LIMS has expanded to a solution for data management needs, including tracking of tests performed. Another feature implemented is a configuration tool. The tools allow the system to meet workflow requirements by matching the terminology and eliminating the need for customization.
The Role of Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)
The important role that LIMS plays is increasing the operational efficiency of the laboratory by streamlining the workflows and eliminating the need for maintaining information manually. It started as a system to keep a record of samples, their results, and other particulars of patients’ samples. Right from the inception to the laboratory management system, it followed the traditional methods of labeling and record keeping. A dedicated laboratory information management system began appearing with new features.
The software today is extremely reliable. Once the sample is collected, it is taken to the laboratory to give a tag. The software package can update the progress and update the result of the database in real-time. Overall, it helps lab facilities in collecting samples and delivering reports to patients. It works as an interface between the database and lab faculties where the data essentials are stored.
LIMS on the Cloud and Matching Interface in LIMS
Cloud storage has no limits on storage capacity. It supports laboratory information management systems in several ways. It has multiple redundant systems; therefore, you don’t have to worry about backup and data loss. Furthermore, it can access data from anywhere at any point in time with proper access. The maintenance of data is cost-effective when compared to standalone LIMS. It provides a larger bandwidth and is enough to provide traffic with less access. LIMS is cloud-based and can have control over processing and delivering.
The interconnection of LIMS software gives insights to LIMS to patients. When the information is made available, the patients can keep track of their records. Thus, helping patients to stay updated with fewer efforts. The software started as a record-keeping and managing healthcare solution but has now evolved into a state of management solution. It has given a boost to the healthcare facility and also to the healthcare sector.
It acts as an interface between equipment and other devices. It is capable of interfacing with the database to import and export data. For example, an MRI scanner scans a machine with the image display unit and a control unit, but with LIMS, the data from the scanner can be stored in the database to the particular patient name. It can also make schedules for doctors and other healthcare professionals. It schedules follow-ups and cancellations of requests through websites.
Purposes of Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)
A perfect LIMS manages record-keeping and report generation. Some of the major functions of LIMS include sample and inventory management, test management, and reporting.
1. Sample Management is the major function of a LIMS. It manages accurate records of samples and stores them securely. This way, it eliminates the loss of data. When the samples are moved from one laboratory to another, the chain is updated to ensure the proper tracking of location.
2. Inventory Management is a crucial part of day-to-day laboratory management. It manages supplies and reagents. Furthermore, it also generates reorder alters in case of stock mismanagement. LIMS also keeps track of up-to-date information and notifies when the equipment is due for upgrade or maintenance. Besides this, Patient Management Software
also manages forms, medical billing, and electronic medical records (EMR)
3. It allows testing workflows while providing control of the testing process. Also, reporting is an important part of the LIMS and allows a laboratory to collect data and reduces the overhead of the laboratory. It also allows you to generate reports like sample summary, analysis count, audit trail, and other reports.
Advantages of Using LIMS
There is a list of advantages that LIMS offers to a laboratory. A few of them are:
1. Setting Out Requirements
When you are installing LIMS in a laboratory, the process should design based on the technical requirements of the system. The requirements ensure a project’s success and deliver effective project management.
2. Real-Time Tracking and Time-Saving
Earlier, the collection and transfer of samples was a time-consuming activity. Today, LIMS has tracking modules and thus makes the work easier. Real-time tracking of samples becomes possible when a technician can manage and control the workflow by making a few clicks on the screen.
3. Increases Revenue
Modern LIMS consists of a management information system that makes tests available in different formats. A modern LIMS helps lab owners analyze trends and accurate projections.
4. Streamlined Workflow
With completion monitoring, LIMS accelerates workflows in your laboratory. Tasks are assigned to the specialist, and each task is tracked on the program. With lab information, systems are integrated into your lab and speed up the internal processes while reducing operating costs.
5. It Tracks Inventory Without Losses
Sometimes the lack of equipment and drugs may result in the unavailability to perform experiments and other tasks. Keeping track of supplies that are required in the lab can be optimized using LIMS software. It also ensures that the necessary inventory is ordered at the right time with the set requirements.
6. It Automatically Exchanges Data
It stores data in a LIMS database. The data transfer between departments and organizations is one of the major LIMS benefits. By sharing documents and files, the system becomes data-driven and helps in better decision-making.
The automated information exchange in management software improves internal operations and clinic processes. By using this software, you can accelerate different tasks and involve reporting time for different periods. The data can include details about sample status that can be displayed using data visualization tools.
7. Automatic Reporting
Accurate data maintenance is one of the major benefits of laboratory information management systems. With LIMS, you can enable the creation of management and other types of reports. Furthermore, LIMS can generate reports and help lab experts make informed decisions.
Limitations of Laboratory Information Management System
There are specific issues involved with LIMS. For instance, it has costs during trials. It is adopted at various verticals to meet the challenges. To follow LIMS, you should depend on the company to secure your data when it is moved to the cloud.
LIMS is important for medical and scientific organizations. It provides instant reporting, centralized data storage and is successfully used in other industries. The modern LIMS has the power to change the functioning of the lab by giving better control to everyone.