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Laboratory Information Management System Software | Lab Management Software

This laboratory information system is a software-based solution with features that supports modern laboratory operations. Key features include—but are not limited to—workflow and data tracking support, flexible architecture, and data exchange interfaces, which fully “support its use in regulated environments”.

features and uses

The features and uses of a LIMS have evolved over the years from simple sample tracking to an enterprise resource planning tool that manages multiple aspects of laboratory informatics.

Automate workflow

By using a LIMS, your lab can automate workflows, integrate instruments, and manage samples and associated information.

Manage samples

A Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is software that allows you to effectively manage samples and associated data.

Reliable result

Additionally, you can produce reliable results more quickly and can track data from sequencing runs over time and across experiments to improve efficiency.

Key Benefits of a LIMS

Although the primary purpose of a LIMS is to track and manage samples, it can do so much more. It can:

  • Enable workflow automation which can in turn reduce human error.
  • Centralize access and storage of quality control data.
  • Support compliance efforts
  • Track reagents and lots
  • Perform instrument run monitoring
  • Initiate downstream data analysis
  • Integrate with instruments or other in-lab systems to improve lab efficiency

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The primary purpose of a LIMS is to improve efficiency in lab operations by cutting down on manual tasks. For example, a LIMS automatically records information that would otherwise need to be typed in or written down, thereby saving time and reducing errors.   What information your LIMS automatically captures, how it enters the system, and where and how it’s stored depends on which LIMS vendor you choose. Some LIMS will be better at helping certain types of labs operate more efficiently, but not be as appropriate for others. 
Each system operates a little bit differently. I’ll elaborate on some common LIMS features and functions below. 

As samples move from person to person and place to place, it’s easy for them to get lost or mixed up. Accurate, detailed records are essential to making sure everything gets done and done right. For example, a good record should tell you whether a sample meets project criteria, but they can be a pain to create and maintain. When you create a sample, most LIMSs will record and store information such as:

– Who or what the sample was taken from

– Which researchers/providers are working with i

– Where it’s been, and

– where it needs to go next

– How to store it

– When it needs to move

Workflow management

You should use an LIMS to automate workflows for the same reason you should use it to automate records keeping, but instead of saving work, this function saves you time. When you codify existing methods and procedures in a LIMS, you delegate decision-making to the software. 

Reporting

It’s nice to be able to quickly pull reports that can answer questions such as which instruments get used the most, how long your sample backlog is, and how long it takes your lab, on average, to process a sample. This kind of data is extremely useful for data analysis auditing and audit trail. Keep in mind, just because a LIMS can run a report doesn’t mean it’s easy. Some reports require custom coding to set up and run. And some systems can export to Adobe PDF and Microsoft Word, but not Google Drive.

Tips for Choosing the Right LIMS for Your Lab

Let’s take a look at some key considerations for choosing a LIMS.

Choose a LIMS specifically designed for clinical labs

Because LIMSs are used across industries, some functionality are industry-specific. You don’t want to pay for features that are only useful to oil and gas companies, and you don’t want a LIMS that can’t handle everything you need to run a clinical lab.

Choose a LIMS vendor that either only serves clinical labs or at least has functionality built for your particular setting. Every year, our collective ability to store and analyze data cheaply and effectively improves, making data more and more valuable. The clinical lab setting is no exception. Data is one of your most important assets, so you should choose an LIMS that can help you get the most value out of that resource.

Choose a LIMS with data management capabilities

Which also includes assay data management, data mining, data analysis, and strong analytics with dashboards that are easy for management to read and easy for you to glean insights from.