Do you need a LIMS?

by Nick Beckloff on December 2, 2015 in Genomics, Technology
Jinchang Sun, Clarity LIMS user, Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo | Manage NGS Workflow

In a recent blog, I described at a high level the difference between electronic lab notebooks (ELN), electronic medical record (EMR) systems, laboratory information systems (LIS), and laboratory information management systems (LIMS). In this blog, I want to specifically address LIMS and how to determine if your lab needs one.

As labs grow, they face the dilemma of accurately and quickly processing an increasing sample volume while integrating the latest technology to enhance laboratory performance. This is no small feat. Additionally, with growth comes the need for more organization, additional resources, and process. While it may seem counterintuitive to introduce a new system – in the form of a LIMS – into the lab at such a busy time, this might be precisely what your lab needs.

LIMS support samples from initial entry all the way through processing, including metadata, QC, workflow, and processing information. As such, they can help you manage the growing sample volume, adjust to new technologies, and help you optimize your laboratory procedures. But how do you know if your lab is ready for one?

Yearend is always a great time to reflect and plan for the year ahead. In this season of list making and checking things twice, we’ve prepared a handy list of questions you can use to discern your need for a LIMS.

  1. Is your sample volume increasing?
  2. Do you use a variety of items to process your samples (e.g., reagents, containers, machines, etc.)?
  3. Do you work in a regulated environment with rules and provisions to follow that govern how samples are processed?
  4. Do you need to start recording more details about how samples are processed for official purposes?
  5. Do you spend a lot of time managing sample information (data entry, synchronization with other in-lab systems, etc.)?
  6. Has your lab experienced a decline in quality because you don’t have enough resources to tackle the workload?
  7. Do you spend a lot of time tracking information about samples for customers or other groups in the lab?
  8. Do you consistently put other projects on hold due to lack of bandwidth?
  9. Do you have trouble making financial arguments to administration for more lab help?
  10. Do you work in a startup environment, in which you need to be in production mode quickly and efficiently?

We realize that all labs are different and each and every one has unique circumstances, but if you answered yes to even one of these questions, it might be time to consider a LIMS. Finding the right LIMS can make a positive difference in your lab. If you’d like to have a conversation about your lab or about BaseSpace Clarity LIMS, please contact us.

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