We’ve been talking a lot about the move towards a truly paperless lab and one of the questions often asked is ‘what are the technologies that makes this possible?’. So far we know that a laboratory information management system (LIMS) is a critical component of the paperless lab because a LIMS is the central repository of all the data generated in the lab. And because the LIMS collects and stores lab-generated data, it is also the central point of integration for instruments, other laboratory software such as electronic lab notebooks (ELNs) or scientific document management systems (SDMS). Finally, with today’s sophisticated enterprise-level LIMS, the lab can be fully integrated with other enterprise-wide systems such as ERP, MES, and PIMS, enabling management at any level of the organization to have access to critical business metrics when they are needed.
I have a really informative video to share with you today that outlines one of the technologies necessary to enable a truly paperless lab. David Joyce talks about Integration Manager, a flexible and powerful data transformation tool that enables automated data acquisition and point-to-point data distribution across the enterprise. Integration Manager takes the data consolidated in the LIMS and makes it available across the entire organization in the format appropriate for each application.
Most laboratories have in place many different types of instruments that generate data locally. If those instruments stand on their own with no integration to the LIMS, accessing their data requires human intervention before a report can be prepared that makes use of the collected data. This collection of data is most often done through re-keying of report data, leading to human error in the time consuming transcription of data. With Integration Manager, the disparate instruments in the laboratory can be fully integrated with the LIMS and enterprise systems. This allows data to be collected electronically and stored in a central database, regardless of the individual output formats produced by each instrument. Integration Manager acts as a ‘translator’ of all the individual languages of those disparate instruments to provide and accept data in the format appropriate for each instrument and in the format required by the end user.
Like what you are learning?
A good article was recently published in LabOutlook titled “The Paperless Laboratory of the (Near) Future”. In this article Colin Thurston also talks about what it takes to take the paper out of the laboratory. The article includes a video component as well as links to more information about how to achieve a truly paperless laboratory.
Next time we’ll explore some of the customer application stories that illustrate the benefits of moving to a paperless lab. I hope you’ve enjoyed this information and will feel free to give us your comments.