Understanding LIMS And How They Help Laboratories

By Andrew Thompson

Anyone who has ever worked in a lab is familiar with or has at least heard of an information system. They come in many forms and go by a number of different names, but no matter what they're called, they are always essential in order for the scientists to carry out the duties and for the lab to carry out all of its functions. LIMS stands for laboratory information management system, but some other popular titles for it are laboratory information system (LIS) and laboratory management system (LMS).

The reason why everyone in the scientific community has to know about these types of things is that it would be impossible to find a single working lab today that doesn't have one. The reason for this is that scientific research laboratories nowadays have to go through so much information that there is no possibility that all of the data would be able to be tracked properly without one. It's not just about making the life of the scientists easier; it's about reaching new heights of scientific understanding, to help mankind in all kinds of different ways.

When there are numerous different people working in a lab, it is easy to lose track of who worked when, who did what, and any other detail that can come into play in a specific type of scientific experiment. Losing just a tiny bit of data or having something mixed up can often make or break an experiment, and these little accidents can be extremely costly. That's why just keeping track of workflow in a reliable and automated way is something that research facilities need to have.

When information is put in manually, there is so much more room for error than when it is put in automatically. Although some people are very meticulous and extremely careful, there is just so much that can go wrong when records are kept this way. All it takes is for a number or decimal point to be put in the wrong place, or for a file to be misplaced, for disaster to occur, and that's why an automated method is best.

While every laboratory has this kind of system in order to serve a standard suite of purposes, these tools can also be extremely helpful in specialty laboratory situations. This means research facilities that are working in a specific area of science and research. This usually calls for customized information systems to help keep track of the data in the most efficient and helpful way possible.

Information systems have changed a lot over the years. Mainly, they have become much more advanced. This is both due to the help of science and due to the advancing needs of scientists.

These systems were first used to track samples. Scientists relied on them heavily in the early days of experimentation. Now the uses of information systems have grown immensely.

In the same way that science itself differs in many ways between the various branches it has, laboratories and scientists themselves also come in many different varieties. This is bound to create many opportunities for differences in opinions, and the opinion for what makes an LIS what it is is one of those divergences. It is good to get to know what constitutes an information system in the lab you're working in before accidentally misunderstanding what is being said.

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