Reducing Human Error Before and After Lab Testing

Reducing Human Error Before and After Lab Testing | LabLynx

Author: Chris Casper

From a customer’s order to the final report, laboratory errors can appear at any time in the total testing process. As our in-depth guide “Improve Laboratory Accuracy and Reporting Quality with a LIMS” explains, you can prevent these types of laboratory errors by digitizing laboratory processes. Many sources of error are human, and it’s only a matter of when, and how often, people make mistakes. Let’s look at how a laboratory information management system (LIMS) from LabLynx reduces human error by automating manual activity throughout the total testing process.

Guiding customer behavior

Your testing processes begin beyond the laboratory’s walls. Customers’ actions can introduce errors that affect testing accuracy and laboratory productivity. Here are three common sources of customer error you can address with LabLynx LIMS software.

Ordering appropriate analysis correctly

Customers start the testing process when they place their orders. However, when customers order the wrong test—or supply incomplete or illegible information—your staff wastes time getting the order right. Your LabLynx LIMS can include secure web portals that make it easier for customers to submit correct, complete orders. Automatically populated fields, for example, reduce the amount of information customers must enter. Orders arrive directly in your LIMS software, so your staff no longer needs to transcribe paper forms.

Collecting samples effectively

Your customers may not be experts in sample collection, which means samples can arrive at the lab in the wrong quantities, contaminated by poor collection methods, or damaged during transportation. These sampling errors may have downstream effects on your lab’s testing. Populate your LabLynx web portals with resources to help customers collect samples correctly. Your online order form, for example, can let customers buy the correct containers or shipping materials.

Interpreting your analysis properly

Once final reports are in customers’ hands, there is always a risk that they will misinterpret the results. Of course, customers should know what they’re doing. But a few simple steps can help them make the most of your analyses. LabLynx supplies report-building tools that let you create templates based on design principles and industry best practices. These templates can, for example, automatically highlight out-of-range results because they link directly to your LIMS software. Report clarity improves the customer’s experience and helps them make the best decisions quickly.

Removing human error from laboratory processes

Standardized test methods, regular instrument calibration, and quality management practices help reduce technical errors. Human error is harder to control. Here are four ways a LabLynx LIMS software solution can remove the human factor from your lab’s internal processes.

Barcode labels and sample tracking

Using handwritten labels and inventory-tracking spreadsheets inevitably leads to mistakes in the lab due to illegible handwriting and transcription errors. However, your LabLynx LIMS can generate barcode labels at registration or at the point of collection. A quick barcode scan will log location changes as well as the creation of sub-samples or aliquots. By digitizing your lab’s sample management, your LIMS software ensures that the right sample gets to the right place at the right time.

Integrating laboratory instruments and systems

Setting up a batch of samples for an instrument run can take hours of manual data entry. Once the results are ready, analysts spend more time parsing the instrument’s structured data for analysis. Letting your LIMS software take on these mundane tasks removes the human contribution to analytical errors. Setting up samples and batches in the LabLynx LIMS reduces the amount of data entry. Your LIMS software will generate an instrument run list that analysts simply load into the instrument. After analysts upload the results file, the LIMS parses the instrument’s structured data and saves the results for review.

Managing employee competencies

Employee qualifications are essential to licensing and accreditations. They also reassure your customers that your staff can conduct tests accurately and consistently. Use your LIMS to maintain training and competency histories for everyone in the lab. Log attendance at professional development sessions, as well as any independent certifications. When you perform competency assessments, your LabLynx LIMS will keep a permanent record of the test data and your final reports.

Digitizing report creation, review, and distribution

Even when everything else goes perfectly, errors can creep into your lab’s reports. Besides data entry errors, your approval process can introduce delays that increase turnaround times. Paper reports passed around the lab can get misplaced or must wait until a supervisor is back in the lab. LabLynx LIMS software can digitize your lab’s report review and distribution processes. Supervisors can approve reports whether working in the lab or from home. Once approved, your LIMS software will generate a PDF report and distribute it electronically to your customers or queue the report for printing and physical delivery.

Streamline your lab’s processes with LabLynx LIMS solutions

From the moment customers place their orders to the moment they read their reports, a LabLynx LIMS is there to help you avoid the many human-induced errors that creep into the total testing process. Take the first step towards a more accurate, more productive laboratory testing process by downloading our free article “Improve Laboratory Accuracy and Reporting Quality with a LIMS.”

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