From Notebook to LIMS System: An Evolutionary Tale

Published on February 3, 2023
Written by: Dora Harding
From Notebook to LIMS System: An Evolutionary Tale

LIMS System

Have you considered getting a laboratory information management system (LIMS)? Will LIMS be good for your laboratory? Do you have a lot of LIMS System questions? Well, you are not alone.

Scientists worldwide are switching from using traditional handwritten laboratory notebooks to adopting LIMS solutions. And for a good reason.

In this piece, we’ll help you understand the purposes, features, and role of a Laboratory Information Management System.

What is LIMS?

As the name suggests, a LIMS or laboratory information management system is a software system that supports modern laboratory operations by automating manual processes like maintenance, tracking, and data capture. In other words, this software-based solution supports modern lab operations.

The key features of a LIMS include:

• Lab inventory and storage management
• Data analysis
• Security
• Environmental monitoring
• Specifications management
• High Throughout Screening
• Study management
• Workflow management
• Lab inventory and storage management

Benefits and advantages of LIMS

Most modern laboratory information management systems offer the following benefits.

1. Reducing manual errors

Lab management is usually challenging since it involves numerous stages. When handled manually, there’s more probability of incorrect readings, data redundancy, and data mismatch.

A laboratory information management system helps record the data by eliminating or reducing manual intervention.

2. Improved productivity and efficiency

Another advantage of LIMS is increased lab and operational efficiency. The software system automates lab operations, which allows your institution to go paperless. This increases output and ensures data integrity.

LIMS software can retrieve data and eliminate data loss and false reporting.

Laboratory information management systems also deter research scientists from using outdated and uncalibrated devices for analytical testing, ensuring accuracy and improving the quality of test results.

Eliminating manual processes minimizes the turnaround time, which frees up your worker’s time to focus on the facility’s core tasks.

3. Compliance with regulatory standards

A LIMS helps your facility and workers meet regulatory compliance. All laboratories comply with stated medical ethics, policies, evolving regulations, etc. The software can support GLP (Good Laboratory Practices) and help with high-quality data generation.

4. Remove data silos

LIMS solutions can help you remove data silos consolidating and bringing together laboratory and sample data into a centralized system. And as a result, you can:

• Minimize administrative overheads
• Increase efficiency
• Protect sensitive information
• Improve quality.

But you will still be required to do some work to format and clean your existing data to import it into a new LIMS.

However, once it is there, the data management tools of this system will help maintain its quality and data integrity.

5. Rapid deployment

Cloud-based laboratory information management systems eliminate the need to buy and install costly software or even pay massive amounts in advance for hardware infrastructure.

That minimizes the deployment time, allowing labs to get started quickly. Updates to the LIMS system can be done automatically, and changes can be performed remotely.

6. Cost-cutting

A LIMS solution not only streamlines workflow and saves time but also reduces the amount of money spent on the processes. For instance, it minimizes the use of paper.

The digital transformation of previously manual processes can also reduce the document storage issue. Remember that quality control is essential in LIMS systems used in clinical labs.

What is the difference between LIMS and ELNS?

A LIMS and an ELN (electronic lab notebook) are invaluable digital tools that allow lab managers and scientific researchers to focus on science rather than spending resources to develop hard-to-maintain, in-house systems.

The main difference between ELNs and LIMS is that ELNs are dedicated to recording and storing unstructured data. In contrast, LIMS are usually dedicated to repetitive and structured data following templates and patterns.

An electronic laboratory notebook and a laboratory information management system have some common benefits:

• They can help laboratories easily track experiments
• Labs can share content from both easily
• Both help labs maintain consistency
• They can help laboratories automate specific processes
• Entries into LIMS and ELN will be searchable

Note that Sapio sciences are a top provider of an electric lab notebook, laboratory management, and knowledge management solutions.

LIMS System

LIMS systems can bring numerous benefits to labs, like improved compliance with quality and regulatory standards, better customer satisfaction, reduced costs, and improved efficiency.