It is not a secret that the purchase and implementation of a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) can be both costly and lengthy, especially if the lab is brand new. However, once implemented, a LIMS will remarkably increase productivity and efficiency in day-to-day operations allowing your lab’s business to grow. The greatest benefit of having a LIMS is the automation it brings to the lab. Listed below are 5 of the ways in which a LIMS can increase that automation:
1. Web Orders and CPOE
Computerized Physician Order Entry, or CPOE, is when a doctor uploads orders (lab tests, medications, X-rays) to an electronic medical record (EMR) from a mobile device or computer. Many LIMS can interface with EMRs allowing for the orders to go directly from the physician’s office to the laboratory electronically. This eliminates paper requisitions and takes the margin of human error out of ordering lab tests. CPOE leads the way in improved patient care and faster turnaround time in the lab.
2. Lab Automation Instrument Interfaces
Instrument interfaces play a key role in automating laboratory testing. By connecting instruments to the LIMS, specimen test results are automatically populated in the software instead of having a lab tech manually key in results. This allows for an increased efficiency in testing, a decrease in botched results due to human error, and allows for the laboratory to increase their specimen intake.
3. Strengthen Quality Assurance
Quality Assurance is crucial for any laboratory management staff, it is important to keep tabs of everything going on in the lab so when the lab is audited it will be in compliance. Some LIMS have built in quality assurance modules that track incidents including broken specimens, accessioning and testing errors, and other hiccups in the laboratory workflow. By strengthening quality assurance, a laboratory management staff can be confident everything is running smoothly.
4. Streamline Reporting
Customizable, organized reports are essential to the laboratory. These reports are what doctors care about most and is how the laboratory brands themselves. Most LIMS vendors work with the lab to develop a report format that is compatible with the system and conveys the results clearly to the lab client. With an interface to an EMR, the reports can automatically leave the laboratory and be available for the clients to view. This allows for easily accessible results for the client and faster result times.
5. Automate Workflow
The addition of a LIMS will automate orders through CPOE, testing with instrument interfaces, strengthen quality assurance, and streamline reporting. However, the most important service a LIMS can provide is automating a lab’s workflow. A LIMS oversees the specimen’s journey through the laboratory process, starting when it is first accessioned and following it until the results are confirmed and reported out to the client. The LIMS acts as a powerful tool that automates that journey and in turn improves efficiency every step of the way.