Finding the right Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) for your lab can get tricky.
Rightly so because it depends on several factors: lab requirement, price, functionality, future growth and process impact.
A LIMS usually comes with stringent specs related to lab automation, reporting, billing and sample management. Several cost-saving benefits come with lab information management systems, ranging from efficient use of staff time to reduced need for server space and cooling costs. More than often, there are many factors to consider before selecting a LIMS Right from technical considerations, ownership costs, usability, and features offered are for security functions; a lot of work and thinking goes before finalizing the LIMS for the lab. The costs of ownership can be both explicit and implicit but should be aggregated before making a final decision.
Here are a few points where a right Lab Information Management System can help with severe cost-cutting for your lab:
Reduced risk: With a LIMS, the risk of errors is reduced vis-à-vis the manual entry of data, including errors related to transcribing data from bench sheets. Also, automated systems can trace and consolidate these measurements into a single system.
Redistributing work: Automation via a LIMS can change staffing models considerably. The LIMS can now handle work that used to be done manually, including taking in samples, billing management, auditing equipment and monitoring sample progress.
Releasing bottlenecks: A LIMS can also solve several other issues in lab operations. Consider some of the common areas of bottlenecking in a lab: calculations, regulatory review preparation, report generation, results location, results in review and release, sample location, updating sample and test status, work assignments and workload leveling. In each case, efficiency gains can be quantified.
But wouldn’t your LIMS require cost-cutting too?
Like all innovations, the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) comes with its limitations. There is always a way out, that enables the complete implementation of the innovation. Let us get into how LIMS can be used to the fullest to have your lab run at its optimum capability and potential.
The term Hosted SaaS (Software as a Service) is the present-day buzzword in the world of cloud computing and LIMS. In recent years, it has gained prominence as an affordable alternative to the ever-growing IT expenses and a valuable service for biobanks, hospitals, academia, CROs and pharmaceutical industries to manage vast volumes of data using the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).
SaaS: The economical way out
Purchasing a traditional on-premises LIMS license along with the IT infrastructure requires a large capital outlay. A hosted SaaS model offers a cost-effective solution by providing researchers the flexibility to pay for the license at regular time intervals, on a monthly or yearly subscription. Additionally, SaaS products provide feature updates on the go.
Continuous in-flow of multi-factorial and heterogeneous data makes conventional practices of manual data entry using spreadsheets and lab notebooks difficult and error-prone. The data retrieval turns out to be even more cumbersome. In such cases, lab automation with appropriate data storage and tracking solutions becomes imperative. Cloud-hosted automation tools streamline day-to-day lab operations. Switching to cloud-based SaaS LIMS also enhances the operational efficiency by eliminating the need for using paper and spreadsheets. This practice helps minimize downtime and provides faster, secure access to the lab’s data.
It looks like SaaS would be pouring over all sectors in due time. Although, how long will the clouds keep bridging gaps, is something only time will tell!