What is a LIMS? Definition and Meaning

What is LIMS software?

What is a LIMS? What does the term mean? The term LIMS stands for Laboratory Information Management System. While laboratory software is concerned with data processing in chemical, physical, biological, and medical laboratories, a LIMS is different.

A laboratory information and management system is used to control work processes in such a way as to ensure that activities are carried out efficiently. LIMS systems support laboratories of all types and sizes in organizing or managing their daily process flows and in evaluating all data. The term LIMS is only standardized to a certain extent. This is because a LIMS can be used in many different areas and can be individualized depending on the application and requirements.

A laboratory information and management system (LIMS) is an IT application. A LIMS supports laboratory operations with regard to the administrative and coordinative tasks of sample processing and sample management. But it also simplifies the acquisition and evaluation of determined measurement data / analysis data. LIMS work along a generic workflow / requirements in a pre-structured, standardized form. This applies across different industries. Process steps that occur are, for example: sample registration, specification of the scope of the analysis, data acquisition of measurement results, evaluation/reporting, and management report.

In the best case, a LIMS offers a complete solution tailored to the laboratory. In order to fulfill this, the performance of the LIMS system is adapted to the required functions and specifics of the respectivelaboratory process. This is implemented in the consulting process within the roll-out at reasonable costs – use our flexible LIMS software for this purpose.

Find out below all the basics you need to know about a LIMS.

What is the function of a LIMS?

A LIMS accompanies the laboratory personnel in all laboratory processes. These in turn can be divided into the phases of sample planning and preparation, sample execution with sampling and sample processing, and control and evaluation. A LIMS is able to map all these phases and supports the user in the best possible way by providing appropriate assistance through the LIMS system.

What is a LIMS? Important functionalities at a glance

As already mentioned, a LIMS supports the laboratory staff in all laboratory process steps. For this purpose, the LIMS software contains a lot of functionalities and modules that map different topics or process steps. Important components are:

Analysis Management

This functionality Analysis Management is used to manage all relevant sample and process information in a database.

Inspection Order Management

You can use the inspection order management function to create and manage test orders for complex individual tests.

Interfaces

A LIMS should always have interfaces so that it can be seamlessly integrated into existing IT systems or to connect measuring devices.

Flexibility

A LIMS should always be flexible and adaptable so that it can react flexibly to new circumstances.

Evaluations

Evaluations are essential for a LIMS. A good LIMS offers many possibilities for individual evaluation.

Workflow Management

In every laboratory, work steps also occur away from the analysis. You can control this with Workflow Management.

Benefits and advantages of a LIMS

If a LIMS is used consistently and intensively in the laboratory, this brings quite a few advantages. Here is an overview of the most important advantages of a LIMS:

Central data storage

With a LIMS, data is no longer maintained manually or via Excel files or in books but flows automatically into the LIMS system. The great advantage of this approach is that all users are always up to date. The database is always up to date; problems caused by outdated or incorrectly maintained data do not arise in the first place. The use of a LIMS, therefore, has a positive influence on data up-to-dateness.

Improving collaboration

With a LIMS, all data can always be easily found and viewed by anyone with authorization. Of course, this also simplifies collaboration with external departments, for example. The fact that the processing status can be called up at any time promotes transparency. Everyone involved is able to plan and work better. Obstacles caused by data not being available on paper, access blocks to files, or missing information about the processing of samples are completely eliminated.

Minimization of the administrative burden

The time required for daily tasks in the laboratory can be significantly reduced by using a LIMS. Many tasks can be simplified or even fully automated with the help of LIMS software. This allows everyone involved to finally devote more time to the analysis work itself.

LIMS as an important part of the quality management process

When asking the question “What is a LIMS?” one should not forget the aspect of quality management. The introduction of LIMS can be an important part of the internal quality management process for laboratories in all industries. After all, quality is an important factor for customer satisfaction in many companies. Provided that certain requirements are met, LIMS software can make a major contribution to optimizing the QM process in the company.

The following LIMS aspects can influence quality management:

  • Documentation requirements, audit obligations, traceability
  • Early detection of quality problems with the possibility of countermeasures
  • high information availability of the laboratory data within the laboratory database in research, for the operation, the customer and other partners

LIMS as solution software for its users

The user in the laboratory is concerned with the functionality of the software. He works with a clearly structured and comprehensibly navigable system and benefits mainly from the following functions:

  • Order registration and sample registration
  • Specification of the scope of the examination
  • Support for sample distribution, processing and merging of incoming data
  • Recording of results (manual, online)
  • Release of test results
  • Reporting / evaluation / report

In addition, there are many other functions that are offered in the LIMS software basic package or as an extension.

The basic LIMS software is usually adapted to the individual characteristics of a laboratory in the course of a conception and implementation phase. Frequently, LIMS applications evolve during their use. Depending on the complexity, this can result in highly specialized systems. At the beginning, the basic functions are used, which are supplemented over time with special evaluations, statistics, test equipment management or quality control charts. Further, such a LIMS system grows by connecting additional measuring devices via interfaces.