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Communication Critical - Where LIMS Helps on Information Delivery

August 30, 2018 / by Theresa Webster

Communication critical-475727-editedCommunication is a key part of working as a team, delivering on business objectives, and meeting customer expectations. When you’re working in a laboratory, there are many opportunities to communicate effectively to avoid disappointment. 

In this blog, we highlight a few key features of LIMS that help you communicate with your clients and your team.

Notifications

In this day and age, with smartphones and apps, we are all familiar with notifications. When someone likes a photo, or you receive a new email, you immediately get a ping on your phone or a pop-up on your laptop.  Notifications are great because they tell us what’s happening as soon as it happens.  In the world of LIMS, we can use notifications to our advantage.  For contract laboratories, notifications can be extremely useful.  For example, if your LIMS offers a portal that allows your customer to submit samples to your lab, they could send you a notification to let you know samples are on their way.  This enables you to plan the workload of your laboratory to ensure you can continue to meet expected turnaround times.  Some LIMS systems let you configure notifications throughout the workflow so that members of your team or your customers can follow the sample through the analysis process. At the end, when your customer’s sample analysis is complete, you can also send them a notification with their test report attached ensuring communication is maintained from beginning to end.

Status Views

Knowing the priority of samples is important to ensure your team is organised to deliver on customer expectations effectively.  Status views in LIMS give you an overview of all the samples booked into your lab, and in one quick snapshot, you can easily see which samples are highest priority.  Some LIMS systems display status by colour or percentage complete, and knowing which samples are priority enables your team to work on those samples first.

Specifications

As a laboratory that is testing product to specification, it can become time consuming when a sample does not meet specification.  Especially, if you’re a laboratory that operates in a GxP regulated industry, you will need to fully document each stage of your investigation as to why that sample is out of specification – first ruling out any laboratory errors and at worst case scenario, a production error.  LIMS systems that store specifications can give you the ability to spot out of specification or out of trend results immediately.  By knowing the compliance status of your sample earlier, you will have more time to investigate the sample fully and still meet turnaround requirements. 

Reports

Reporting tools are important because they allow you to put meaning behind data.  It’s important that within a LIMS, it has a reporting package that is flexible to meet your evolving needs.  In a laboratory, you generate a lot of data, and there are many conclusions you can draw from data when it is presented in the right way.  This data could vary from laboratory efficiency and meeting turnaround expectations to production process capability and analysing trends in assay values.  Having the ability to customise your reports will support effective communication with customers and your team.

 

understanding the process

Topics: Laboratory Management, Tips, best practices, LIMS, Data Management

Theresa Webster

Written by Theresa Webster

Theresa Webster is the co-founder of Broughton Software and serves as their Director of Product Management. After studying at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte receiving a BSc in Biology and a BA in Chemistry, Theresa began her career at Broughton Laboratories, a leading UK MHRA and US FDA GMP licensed contract laboratory. In her role as a Commercial Projects Manager, she developed business start-ups from idea to fully operational divisions, in particular, the stability storage facility and software services. Theresa led the software services division to become a stand-alone business in 2012 as Broughton Software providing the industry's leading LIMS solution for Quality Control Laboratories. In her personal time, Theresa enjoys travel and fitness.