The Importance of Laboratory Management Systems
Laboratories have been among the heaviest users of information technology since its inception more than 30 years ago. As places where questions are answered and breakthroughs begin, labs have played a defining role in defining and developing information management systems along the way.
The global laboratory information management systems (LIMS) market is growing rapidly. In fact, the research and consulting group, Acumen, anticipates the LIMS market size will around USD 2.4 billion by 2026, with 9.3% CAGR during the forecast time period. Technical advancements in pharmaceutical labs and the increasing need for laboratory automation will likely be the primary drivers behind this growth.
Biotechnological and pharma organizations are investing in research and development, which rely on sophisticated and scalable laboratory management systems for effective management and security, tracking data, patient demographics, billing, and more. To support the explosive growth of research and development, today’s laboratory management systems will need to evolve and grow.
The Evolution of Laboratory Management Systems
Information technology is the glue that holds the laboratory – and modern medicine – together. IT can compress the time and distance separating the lab from the patients and physicians. Laboratory information systems move information from place to place, seamlessly and instantaneously, to put information in the hands of doctors, patients, and interoperating businesses participating in the care, when they need it the most.
Most clinical labs once used laboratory information systems (LIS) to simplify administration and instrumentation tasks, and use laboratory information management systems to make collection, storage, and distribution of patient test results and other data easier. Many labs are now using full-service integrated systems that combine LIS and LIMS functions.
Simply combining several small lab management programs together will not be enough. Today’s LIMS must have advanced features that reduce or eliminate human error, improve real time tracking and time saving, increased revenue, and reduced workload and stress within the lab.
Tomorrow’s lab management systems will build upon today’s technologies, such as the ability to track samples in real time and unique auto-authorization feature that automatically approves reports with normal values. Modern lab solutions allow labs to manage logistics efficiently; assigning barcodes to samples at the collection station and notifying the processing center of the sample collection allows the lab to allocate resources, reagents and material even before the samples reach the processing center.
The next generation of laboratory management systems must be powerful and flexible enough to keep up with the evolving sophistication and specialization of clinical labs and their demands for advanced IT capabilities. Labs are increasing their use of molecular diagnostics, such as next-generation sequencing (NGS) systems that can create terabytes of patient data and analyses in the blink of an eye and other processes, which require a new approach to IT. Labs are also ratcheting up their ability to handle other emerging technologies, such as digital pathology, which present their own heavy-duty imaging storage and analytical processing challenges. Finally, lab management systems must evolve to handle the oncoming tsunami of data resulting from the push towards personalized medicine.
The rapid evolution of IT in healthcare creates an unparalleled opportunity to develop new, advanced laboratory management systems that can handle more data, save more money, and serve even more laboratory clients. The new systems will evolve to handle assay data management, data mining, data analysis, electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) and more. Lab management systems that do not evolve may become outdated in their prime.
From introducing groundbreaking products to reducing waste and improving sustainability, laboratories are changing the face of research and clinical medicine. Innovations in laboratory management helps labs maintain their forward momentum in the ever-changing world of medical technology.
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Frank Magliochetti owes his professional success to his expertise in two areas: medicine and finance. After obtaining a BS in pharmacy from Northeastern University, he stayed on to enroll in the Masters of Toxicology program. He later specialized in corporate finance, receiving an MBA from The Sawyer School of Business at Suffolk University. His educational background includes completion of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School and the General Management Program at Stanford Business School. Frank Magliochetti has held senior positions at Baxter International, Kontron Instruments, Haemonetics Corporation, and Sandoz. Since 2000, he has been a managing partner at Parcae Capital, where he focuses on financial restructuring and interim management services for companies in the healthcare, media, and alternative energy industries. Earlier this year, he was appointed chairman of the board at Grace Health Technology, a company providing an enterprise solution for the laboratory environment.