When you are researching and choosing a laboratory information management system (LIMS), there are many technical specifications to consider. This makes it easy to overlook very important elements during the selection process. These five keys can be used as a guide for evaluating various lab solution software alternatives.
1. Check for experience and expertise
While it’s important to choose a product from a company that has been in the business for a long time, it’s also vital to search for evidence that they know all important aspects of laboratory operations and tests. Preferably, the company should have staff that has worked for many years in the laboratory, working on the most popular aspects of medical lab technology. Here are some issues to consider:
- Are the demonstrations relevant to your core laboratory operations or merely generic?
- Can the company explain how the calculations of results are validated?
- Do they understand how to use a bench sheet?
The greater the level of expertise of the software vendor or developer, the better your chances of getting a solution with features that meet your needs.
2. Focus on your long-term use of the lab solution software
Once your laboratory staff gest used to your new LIMS, it’ll be difficult to switch to another without causing serious workflow problems. That means you should plan for 5 to 10 years and make sure the functionality is broad enough to address present needs and has some built-in flexibility to take care of future needs. Here are some factors to consider:
- Scalability: Will the system scale well as the lab expands over the next five to 10 years? Will it be able to accommodate your projected increase in staff size and the volume of test samples?
- Integration: When new instruments are acquired, will it work with them seamlessly? Can the system be integrated with accounting and billing?
- Capacity to accept new features: Are there features that you’ll need later on and how easy will it be to configure? If you enter other markets, will you need additional functionality?
- Cost of ownership: What additional costs will you incur apart from software license fees and maintenance? How much will you pay for training? Will you need to acquire new hardware or other software add-ons?
3. Ask for features that improve productivity and quality
Every well-designed LIMS can improve your productivity and quality control. So, ask questions to determine if the system is interactive and intelligent. For instance:
- Does the software notify you about the expiration of lab materials?
- How accurately does the system do data calculations?
- Do you receive a notification when the test conditions go beyond limits?
4. Look for evidence of capacity for sustainable lab improvements
The system must meet the following criteria that won’t create a major break in your communication infrastructure:
- Provide a robust dashboard for reporting and quick access to information
- Make it easy for you to comply with statutory regulations and industry standards
- Automatically upload instrument data
- Facilitate sample management
Final Word on Lab Solution Software
Those are some of the most important factors to consider when you’re evaluating various lab information system solutions. Choosing a robust, user-friendly and efficient solution will enhance all aspects of your lab operations and help you maintain accurate laboratory records.