streamlining lab processes with lims software integration blog feature 2

Streamlining Lab Processes with LIMS Software Integration

Drug Discovery is the process of identifying new drugs that have the potential to become therapeutic agents. A key goal of drug discovery is the recognition of new molecular entities that may be of value in the treatment of diseases that qualify as presenting unmet medical needs. Pharmaceutical companies invest heavily in the Drug Discovery process as a new fully approved drug not only serves humanity but also provides a strong revenue stream for the company.

A big part of the Drug Discovery process is the pharmaceutical lab where scientists perform experiments to discover and test various molecular formulations and their impact on treatments of a targeted therapeutic area. Managing processes and executing these experiments efficiently are key priorities for labs in the pharma industry in order to accelerate the overall drug discovery process. In this endeavor, Labs often face numerous challenges related to conducting the experiments like managing and orchestrating complex workflows, managing data, meeting compliance requirements, and more.

The lab environment can be intricate and demanding and this is where automation and integration come into play as powerful tools to streamline experiments, improve efficiency, and drive better outcomes as we’ll explore how in this blog post.

Understanding the Lab Process Landscape

The demand for lab efficiency is ever-increasing as pharma companies strive to discover drugs sooner rather than later. With an ever-increasing volume of samples, equipment, data, and regulatory demands, manual processes are prone to errors, delays, and inefficiencies, hindering the lab’s overall productivity, accuracy, traceability, and compliance.

Almost every pharmaceutical lab uses a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) as the backbone of its operations. LIMS is a software that allows labs to effectively manage samples and associated data, facilitating sample tracking, data management, and regulatory compliance. These systems enable lab personnel to manage and track samples, record and organize data, and ensure that processes adhere to industry standards and regulatory compliance guidelines.

Supporting systems, such as electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) and laboratory execution systems (LES), further enhance the lab process landscape. ELNs enable scientists to record experimental procedures, observations, and results in a digital format, promoting collaboration and data integrity. LESs provide additional functionality by automating experiment execution, equipment integration, and data capture, thus improving workflow efficiency and accuracy.

While these are specialized applications that provide comprehensive functionality for the Labs to achieve operational efficiency, these applications have become quite complex and monolithic over the period of time. There is a need to take a modern approach to Labs, while still leveraging the current investments made into these large LIMS, ELNs, and other supporting applications.

Here are the reasons why.

The need for Automation and LIMS Software Integration

A holistic approach is necessary when it comes to managing lab processes. It involves considering the entire lifecycle of a sample or experiment, from its entry into the lab to the final analysis and beyond. This comprehensive perspective allows for a seamless flow of information and activities, minimizing delays, errors, and duplication of efforts.

While specialized LIMS software have been in place for decades, there are many challenges that a pharmaceutical lab encounters with the traditional LIMS software.

  • They have rigid workflows that are often hard coded into the LIMS application, thus limiting the flexibility provided to laboratory users.
  • Laboratory operations require processing of large amounts of complex data sourced from a variety of siloed legacy applications that don’t easily talk to each other, thus lacking a unified view of the data and overall process transparency.
  • The lack of structured collaboration amongst scientists and lab technicians, forces them to use email and chat which is inefficient, results in delays and lacks enterprise level visibility.
  • Lastly, traditional LIMS systems contain an outdated user experience which often leads to fatigue and frustration.

By adopting workflow automation and data integration strategies, modern technology like Low-code Process Automation can help labs enhance their processes significantly. Modern automation supports intelligent and flexible workflows, allowing Labs to tailor their experiment runs to their organization and their specific needs. Integration, on the other hand, involves enhancing existing LIMS and supporting systems by bringing data from various systems, including instruments.

Combining these approaches empowers labs to optimize their operations and elevate their overall performance. From sample tracking and data management to experiment execution and analysis, automation and integration offer tremendous benefits that can significantly transform lab processes.

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Leveraging Low-code Process Automation to streamline Labs

Low-code Process Automation is an approach that enables businesses to create applications and automate business processes rapidly, while integrating in real-time with your current and legacy systems with minimal coding effort. This approach typically involves the use of drag-and-drop interfaces and pre-built components to quickly create applications that can automate processes and workflows, bring data from various systems together, automate decision-making via configurable rules, provide deep insight into processes via interactive dashboards and deliver a modern, mobile-enabled user experience in a short period of time.

The resulting solution can be easily configured and customized specifically to your laboratory and organization’s needs. And since it is built on a low-code process automation platform, the end-to-end solution development and testing can happen in weeks.

A Low-code Process Automation solution for a pharmaceutical lab can extend your current LIMS and ELN investment in the following ways:

  • Dynamic and configurable workflows that allow experiments to be designed in the most flexible fashion, leveraging the Dynamic Case Management capabilities.
  • Execution of these experiment runs can be closely tracked through task scheduling and monitoring.
  • A unified view of data through real time integrations with siloed systems can bring in the right data from various systems in the context of the experiment runs making them more efficient.
  • Built-in deep and real-time collaboration can ensure quick dissemination of information and rapid issue resolution.
  • The execution of an experiment can be supported by robust sample and instrument management, configurable business rules, deep audit trail, reporting, analytics, and a dashboard for real-time performance visibility.
  • Deep integrations with lab instruments via IoT can vastly enhance efficiency by automatically capturing the results of the experiments.
  • Enhanced functionalities like instrument scheduling and sample inventory management can further enhance the efficiency of the lab operations.

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Immediate Business Benefits

Augmenting your Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) and other existing systems with advanced workflow automation and data integration capabilities can bring about a multitude of benefits and transform the way labs operate.

Let’s explore the unique advantages that Low-code Process Automation offers:

Streamlining Workflows and Reducing Manual Efforts

By automating tasks, workflow automation enables labs to streamline their workflows and eliminate manual efforts. This allows lab personnel to focus on more critical and knowledge-intensive activities, enhancing overall productivity and efficiency. Workflows become more efficient, ensuring a smooth and accelerated progression of tasks to complete the experiment.

Enhancing Data Accuracy and Integrity

Manual data entry and management can introduce errors and inconsistencies, compromising data accuracy and integrity. Data integration ensures accurate and consistent data capture, minimizing the risk of transcription errors or data mishandling. By integrating data into the workflow automation into processes, labs can maintain reliable, high-quality data, enabling more accurate analyses and improved decision-making.

Improving Traceability, Compliance, and Audit Trails

Integration supports compliance requirements by providing robust data tracking, comprehensive documentation, and seamless integration with regulatory guidelines. Labs can easily demonstrate compliance with standards, policies, and regulations, ensuring successful audits and maintaining a strong foundation of quality assurance.

Accelerating Experiment Execution and Time-to-Results

Experiment execution often involves various time-consuming manual data-capture steps, leading to delays and extending the duration of the experiment. Integration expedites the execution process by automating manual tasks, coordinating workflows, and integrating instruments and systems. This significantly reduces the time to complete experiments and obtain results, enabling faster decision-making and accelerating research and development efforts.

The power of integration lies in its ability to optimize lab processes, improve efficiency, and unlock the full potential of lab information management systems and supporting systems. By embracing automation and leveraging advanced technologies, labs can revolutionize their operations, achieving greater productivity, data accuracy, compliance, and accelerated time-to-results.

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See Lab Automation Solutions in Action

At Princeton Blue, we have helped our Pharmaceutical clients streamline their lab operations using Low-code Process Automation. I invite you to dive deeper and watch a demo of two lab automation solutions that we have built for our Pharma clients – Lab Experiment Automation and Lab Inventory Management.

These solutions highlight the capabilities of modern Low-code Process Automation and how it can help solve process challenges for Labs that collaborate with global teams.

Labs should explore the benefits of automation and integration for improved processes and experiment execution. By taking the necessary steps to assess current processes, identify automation opportunities, and working with the right automation partner, labs can gradually streamline their operations and achieve meaningful outcomes.

The integration of automation and integration is no longer a luxury but a necessity. It is an investment in the future of lab operations, enabling labs to adapt to evolving demands, keep up with increasing data volumes, and drive better outcomes. The future of lab operations lies in automation, and labs that embrace this transformation will thrive and stay ahead in the dynamic and demanding landscape of scientific research and experimentation.

Laboratory Modernization

Lab Experiment Automation

Leverage Low-code Process Automation to modernize lab operations by augmenting and enhancing your traditional LIMS, ELN and other existing systems.

Watch solution demo

Lab Inventory Management

Lab Inventory Management

Seamlessly manage your lab inventory with a flexible solution powered by Low-code Process Automation.

Watch solution demo

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