A Laboratory Information Management System generally referred to as LIMS, is software that enables effective management of laboratory operations, standardization and optimization of laboratory workflow and accurate control of the process. Effective use of LIMS results in improved efficiency of the laboratory system.
How it works?
LIMS is basically a software application tool that allows systematic reporting and tracking of the test samples. LIMS allows the user to plan sample testing procedures, track the sample and pass the test results to the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Here users can input data regarding the test sample such as date, time, location, sample size, batch number, sample source, etc. to the system. LIMS stores the data and related information about the sample. As the sample moves on during the process, the system gets updated and the user can easily track the position of the sample. To track the sample effectively, the sample number and location must be entered into the system at the time of loading. The barcode system can also be used to give a unique sample number.
Initially, LIMS was developed using simple data entry and record storage software. But currently, with more advanced software technology, LIMS offers more improved and complex functions. LIMS can be provided using wireless technology and remote samples from different environmental conditions can also be tested.
LIMS can be used to assure proper management of workflow so as to obtain the smooth functioning of laboratory operations. Laboratory operations include automation of tasks, sample inputs, sample tracking, monitoring of sample-path during entire procedures using pre-set programs and rules.
Following are the specific uses of LIMS:
- To manage samples: LIMS is most useful in keeping a proper record of the sample. It includes the Name of the lab & researcher, Name of the sample, Source, Date, location, the path of the workflow, storage conditions and expiry. LIMS decreases the chances of the sample getting lost and contaminated. Thus the use of the expired samples is prevented.
- To monitor the sample path: LIMS tracks the sample during the entire flow of the procedure. The system can be fully automated. The monitoring of the sample path keeps watching on inventory. The sample can be ordered in advance as per the requirement. Thus LIMS ensures the smooth functioning of the lab.
- To produce accurate reports: LIMS is a key tool to obtain correct and in-time reports of laboratory procedures. The automated system can provide daily, weekly or monthly reports of the operations as per the requirement.
- To manage operations: LIMS system can be programmed to manage the workflow of the sample. The preset programs in the system can guide the next step in the procedure and automatically allot the task.
The key benefits of LIMS:
- Decrease in manual operations
- Reduction in human errors
- Decrease in time required for operation( rapid and accurate operations
- Automatic Workflow management
- Inventory control and management
- Record keeping
- Accurate and Timely Reporting
- Data analysis
How do you know your LIMS is good and compatible?
- It should fulfill all the requirements of the customer
- It should be easily adaptable to the changing lab conditions and demands.
- Its configuration should be simple and comfortable.
- It should have a User-friendly and flexible interface.
- It should manage the entire life span /path of the sample including storage and stability.
LIMS is applicable and useful in a wide range of industries such as environmental industries biotech industries, pathology labs, medical sector, pharmaceutical sector, agricultural sector, food industries, chemical labs, analytical labs. Scientists, doctors, research students, laboratory staff, support staff can easily and effectively use LIMS after proper training.
Laboratories can design and develop their own LIMS solutions in house. There are many good options are also available commercially in the market.
LIMS is the most essential software tool in laboratory operations. The advanced research in Genomics and next-generation sequencing is generating enormous data. While handling such gigantic data automatic software tool like LIMS is playing a very vital role by providing accurate results.