Data is at the heart of every laboratory’s operations, and managing that data in intelligent ways is crucial to any lab accomplishing its goals.
As has happened in so many other fields, the internet revolution has forever changed the way that pathologists and radiologists deal with their data. And the latest breakthrough in lab data management is the rise of cloud-based “Laboratory Information Management Software,” or LIMS.
These cloud-hosted solutions give labs a centralized portal for storing and displaying all their information. Because they are remotely hosted with multiple redundant layers of information backup, there is virtually no chance of losing data, and all data is accessible from anywhere that you have an internet-connected device.
Obviously the ability to securely store, backup, and remotely access lab data is crucial to any storage system. But LIMS software benefits go far beyond simple storage and backup. Here’s a look at some of the additional functionality that a cloud based LIMS offer these days:
1. Aggregated Data across Branches
It’s common for labs with multiple collection centres in separate locations to send patient samples to their main centre. Of the major LIMS software advantages, this one allows physically separate labs to store their info in a unified system. You can create different user permissions to make sure that all staff has access to the appropriate data, and allow view and edit option to only the ones that are working on those samples.
2. Increased Data Security
If you are interested in LIMS, then you will surely appreciate the built-in data security that the system gives you. If you need to restrict access to certain sections so that only designated personnel on your staff can view and edit them, then you simply edit their user permissions and it’s done. If you want certain pages to be viewable to some users, but not editable, you can do that too. This makes it easy to assign all of your staff access to the right segments of data, without compromising the security of sensitive info or risking violations of privacy regulations.
3. Expandable Storage
Depending on the type and volume of data your lab creates, getting enough storage for your electronic files can be a real issue. One of the key LIMS software benefits is that by storing your information in the cloud, it is easy to expand your system’s storage capacity as your data grows. Some providers even offer “limitless” storage plans, so that no matter how much room your information needs, there will always be enough storage, and your costs will not increase.
4. Simplified Reporting
The LIMS software advantages also include the ability to generate beautiful, detailed reports instantly, using the system’s built-in reporting features. You can create graphs and charts using any combination of the data sets stored in your system and then modify those charts so that the data is displayed in the clearest way possible. You can even sync the charts to your system so that your reports are updated as your data set evolves. No more porting your data across multiple pieces of software to create your reports, and no more constantly editing reports as new data arrives.
5. Sending Reports to Patients
Most of the cloud based LIMS will let you automatically create login accounts for your patients so that they can easily view/download their report online without the need to visiting your lab. This saves them valuable time and makes them a loyal customer. In a mobile first world, offering patients an option to view their reports online via a mobile app could be a game changer for your business.
6. Appointment Management Done Right
If you work in a medical lab or another situation where you have regular appointments, an LIMS can help you manage that information as well. You can create an electronic portal that shows your clients and patients all available times, and then lets them book appointments automatically through the system. Their profiles on the calendar are also synced to their profiles in your LIMS, so that it is very easy to pull their information and have it ready and waiting when they arrive at your lab.
7. Inventory Management
Yet another role your LIMS can fill is that of inventory tracker and manager. You can see exactly what is being used when, and by whom, and use that information to forecast expenses, cut down on waste, and ensure that you never run low on critical supplies. If you are worried about running out of something without noticing, set up an inventory alert, and the system will automatically notify you when the stock decreases past a certain threshold. With an LIMS, you can stop worrying about inventories and focus on the important work in your lab.