Charles Hindbaugh and Dr. Christine Paszko - 12/10/2009 Chemistry & Industry
As laboratory environments continue to evolve, embracing the benefits of automation and efficient data management is becoming more critical, write Charles Hindbaugh and Christine Paszko
Any laboratory that generates data, especially from an instrument run, that is stored and later used in some form of reporting or analysis will benefit from the use of a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). Using a LIMS system reduces the time it takes to turnaround sample results, improves internal communications, sample tracking, data retrieval, quality assurance and control, and secure archiving of data. Most importantly, laboratories find that their relationships with customers are also improved.
Today’s trend is to leave the process of data gathering, decision making, calculations and review and release to those who are closest to the actual analysis in the laboratory. The goal is to gain seamless integration with the laboratory, with results sent from the instrument with electronic data validation and approval. Reports and notifications are automatically sent, secure web access to sample status is available, and there is integration with electronic laboratory notebooks as well as enterprise systems such as accounting packages and chemical inventory systems.
Today, most commercial LIMS have exceeded the key requirements of the analytical laboratory and become more of a laboratory ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) tool, taking into consideration such items as workload, chemical inventory, quoting, invoicing, asset management, time tracking, and customer relationship management functionality, in addition to the core LIMS functions.