Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)

Documentation
Laboratory Information Management Systems, or LIMS, encompass a wide range of tools and solutions in use in research, clinical, and industrial laboratories. The management and analysis of biological samples can be a complex and highly specialized process designed to support a very particular research scenario. Workflow management and auditability of processes completed are also common requirements.

If you already have a LIMS system, LabKey Server can sync to the LIMS data, utilizing it within new assay and study-related workflows in the server. For example, LabKey Server can sync to data in a FreezerPro server installation on a recurring schedule, for details see Import FreezerPro Data. If you are looking for a LIMS solution, you can likely meet your needs with a combination of tools within LabKey Server and likely obtain additional functionality you didn't realize could be seamlessly integrated to help your laboratory run even better. See Electronic Laboratory Notebooks (ELN).

Specimen Management

The LabKey Specimen Tracking and Request systems are ideally suited to customization to suit your particular sample management needs. You can track the movement of samples between locations, record notes and quality control flags, and generate reports required. Customize the approval process, make sure your specific data gathering and analysis steps happen in the correct order, and track metrics about performance to aid in streamlining any lab.

For example, a single specimen drawn from a subject might be distributed to many different laboratories, which then generate different datasets from the original specimen. This presents a number of problems for the researcher: How do you track a vial's history from the original clinical site, to the labs, and finally link the specimen to the generated datasets? Moreover, how do you connect the various datasets residing in independent storage systems, including the CRFs describing the subjects, the vial inventory systems, and the assay results generated from the specimens?

LabKey Server solves these issues by importing and connecting data from the different systems, including subject CRF data, specimen inventories from LIMS and lab tracking systems, and downstream assay results. The integrated data provides answers to questions that would be difficult to approach when the data is separated, questions such as:

What assays have been run on this specimen?
What is the current location of the specimens that generated these assay results?
Which specimens originated from subjects with such-and-such clinical characteristics?

LabKey Server connects and aligns the separate datasets using key fields, especially subject ids, timepoints, and specimen ids/barcodes. Links between the datasets can take a number of different forms: assay results and CRFs can be linked to specimen information using subject ids, or using vial barcodes/specimen ids. The resulting integrated datasets allow for the creation of reports and views that would not be possible otherwise. For example, when clinical, assay, and specimen data are brought together, researchers can navigate from a given vial to its downstream assay results, or they can navigate from a set of assay results back to the originating vial and subject. Similarly, integrated data views can be used as the basis for complex analyses and visualizations. LabKey's specimen management system is designed to complement, not replace, existing lab workflows and LIMS systems. LabKey Server typically works by syncing with data from existing systems, without the need to transform LabKey Server into the "database of record". This allows labs to retain their existing workflows and avoid transferring their data to a new platform. LabKey can also link together different naming systems, so that datasets with different ids for the same subjects and specimens cab be brought together, like an "honest broker" system.

With LabKey Premium Editions, you can also integrate with automate refresh of specimen and sample data from external tools like FreezerPro.

Instrument Integration

No matter what instrumentation you are using to extract research data from your samples, you can design a LabKey assay to represent the schema and facilitate integration of your data with other information about the sample, or about other samples from the same patient. Tracking metadata about the data can also be made programmatic and quality control tools will help improve the reproducibility and reliability of the data obtained.

Electronic Data Capture and Exchange

Create your own custom application for electronic data capture, combining survey-style user-entered information with automatically processed instrument data for a complete programmatic process for your specific research requirements.

With LabKey Premium Editions, integrate with existing systems using tools like RedCap and DATStat.

Laboratory Workflow Management

When the sequence of activities in your research lab can be incorporated into a workflow application, you can improve performance and results. By customizing a LabKey application to closely match existing tools, adoption into busy labs becomes easier.

Using tabs, web parts, and existing LabKey tools, you can create a custom solution to manage your laboratory data and provide workflow guidance. A simple system of named web parts can direct individual operators to their specific tasks, and more involved task list applications can help share the work across a larger group.

Additional Functions

  • Audit Management
  • Barcode Handling
  • Chain of Custody
  • Compliance
  • Customer relationship management - link demographic information and manage communications
  • Document management - track distribution and manage access
  • Instrument calibration and maintenance - track tasks and keep detailed records
  • Manual and Electronic data entry
  • Quality Control
  • Reports

Contact LabKey

If you are interested in learning more, or in partnering with LabKey to solve laboratory information management problems, please contact LabKey.

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