The term “LIMS” is an acronym for “laboratory information management system.” It refers to whatever system a lab uses to manage their sample processing data. Today, that data management extends to every facet of laboratory functions, from customer service to invoicing and more. Your system may be paper-based (we feel your pain if so), or spreadsheets (still not pain-free), a mixture of both, or an actual LIMS application.
Technology and Structure of LIMS
Originally, LIMS, like most applications, were stand-alone programs that were downloaded to individual computers. That made them secure, but any collaboration was difficult, as was installing the many updates that any commercial software is subject to. And maintaining the same updated status across all workstations at all times…well, that became an ongoing headache. Today’s systems are almost exclusively cloud-based.
The way most LIMS work is by having two main components: an application, or software, that is web browser-based and provides a user interface (UI) where users can log into the system and use it, and a web or “cloud” server-based database, which houses all of the data, that can be accessed through the “front end,” or UI (the database is often referred to as the “back end”). This is often augmented with a client-facing web portal, or web page that acts as a controlled-access, secure login point for clients (or physicians or patients, in clinical diagnostics systems). It typically allows them to register samples in the LIMS, print barcoded labels to affix to them so they can be sent to the lab, and to access status of submitted samples and also final results reports – as well as allowing them to view previous reports history.
Software vs Solution
So the question of “what is a LIMS?” begins to go beyond a simple definition as a type of software. What a lab needs is a complete solution to manage all of their data and processes. The modern-day LIMS looks to address that need so that other systems are not needed. The next-generation informatics (NGi) LIMS model is one that is constructed of a cloud-based, ERP-like solution that manages all data and functional needs of the laboratory. But it is difficult to embed such a complete range of disparate functionality in a single application. That’s why the NGi solution takes the form of a technological platform, which is essentially a foundation that can contain various applications that all work together, communicating in targeted ways so that a kind of secure, cloud data ecosystem is formed.
The LabLynx LIMS Solution
- Sample tracking, batching, and management
- Workflow and Test management – Create/modify process steps and tests, sequential processing paths, parameters, limit sets, and specifications, etc.
- Task and event scheduling
- Data and trend analysis
- Query/search capabilities – multiple criteria
- Instrument and third-party software integration
- Internal and external file or data upload/linking
- Data warehouse – storage, management, access
- Document/files creation and management with ISO-compliant versioning
- Inventory management
- QA/QC functionality
- Audit trail and chain of custody (COC)
- Custom reporting and barcode support
- User-level roles and security management
- Instrument calibration and maintenance management
- Standards/regulatory compliance – ISO, 21 CFR, EPA, HIPAA, FDA, GmP…
Additionally, LabLynx is unique in offering an a la carte suite of platforms and applications that are designed to work together seamlessly with each other and with your existing infrastructure to provide a complete data management solution for your lab or labs. These include:
- ELab Notes Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN)
- LabDrive Scientific Data Management System (SDMS)
- LabVia Integrations Manager
- LabVista Business Intelligence (BI) tool for data analytics and visualization
- SciCloud.net® Cloud platform (platform as a service, or PaaS)
That is what the LabLynx LIMS solution gives you: a complete data management ecosystem – or the elements you need to complete your existing overall data management ecosystem. Contact us to set up a time to discuss your lab’s data management needs!