Part 1 – LIMS Applications in the Field
Mobile technology is a driving force behind the digital transformation in the laboratory. Mobility is about having technology where it’s needed, whether it’s at the lab bench, at the instrument side, or in the field. Mobile devices enable technology to move with science, not the other way around. With mobile devices so engrained in our daily lives, their adoption in the laboratory continues to grow. From handheld analytical instruments to smartphones, mobile technology continues to push the boundaries of the laboratory.
Too often, the expectation with mobile technology is that the user sacrifices functionality and performance for mobility. In the laboratory, however, this is a tradeoff that users cannot make. Laboratory users require well-designed mobile solutions, achieving the optimal balance of performance, function, and mobility.
Let's explore how a well-designed mobile solution can deliver value for scientists collecting samples in the field.
Mobile LIMS - Technology Where Science Happens is a three-part series examining scenarios where mobile capabilities deliver great value in the laboratory. This blog focuses on the use of mobile applications in the field.
Using a LIMS to Create Digital Records in the Field
For laboratory technicians working in the field, a tablet can be a useful tool for gathering samples and recording data. Traditionally, scientists have relied on laboratory notebooks for capturing data. In the modern laboratory however, these paper-based notebooks present some challenges. With a notebook, the scientist is creating a paper record, and this record must be stored for regulatory compliance purposes. Paper records are not digitally indexed, so they must be sorted, filed, and recalled manually. For laboratories that desire a digital record, the data captured on paper must be entered manually into a laboratory information management system (LIMS). Manually replicating paper notes introduces risk of data entry errors and issues with data integrity. Even with the data existing in a LIMS, the paper record must be saved because the data was originally recorded in a physical lab notebook.
With a tablet, there’s no need for a paper record. The scientist creates a digital record for each sample gathered in the field, which is automatically captured in the LIMS. That digital record is searchable, traceable, and authentic. Because there is no notebook to transcribe, the risk of data entry errors is minimized. Eliminating the paper record improves laboratory efficiency and compliance. With digital records and modern data mining tools, laboratories can accelerate the process of scientific discovery.
The tablet also supports the scientist in the process of collecting data in the field. When a laboratory defines methods for proper sample collection, a mobile-enabled Laboratory Execution System (LES) enables the field scientist to follow those step-by-step procedures on a tablet. Having the instructions available during sample collection helps ensure quality samples are collected. Additionally, the tablet camera functions as a barcode reader, enabling the scientist to quickly identify the sample collected. The camera can also capture important visual evidence of conditions that could impact sample quality. When captured using a mobile device with a LIMS-enabled application, these photos become part of the sample record in the LIMS.
Thermo Scientific SampleManager Mobile Application – Mobility without Compromise
Thermo Scientific™ SampleManager™ Mobile 3.0 brings a new level of mobile capability to the laboratory. Part of SampleManager LIMS software, this mobile app provides a high-performance mobile platform for critical LIMS functions including sample management and tracking, execution of laboratory methods, result entry and authorization. SampleManager Mobile 3.0 helps digitize the collection of critical laboratory data and eliminates manual data entry, supporting data integrity and compliance. With the mobile-enabled LES, SampleManager Mobile 3.0 encourages best practices and helps scientists follow the laboratory’s SOPs. The solution is available for Apple iPad, Microsoft Surface Pro, and Samsung Galaxy tablets.
Laboratories across all industries, including pharmaceutical, food and beverage, oil and gas, petrochemical, water and environmental, manufacturing and contract testing rely on SampleManager LIMS software to unlock the power of their laboratory data. Visit the SampleManager product page for more information on how these tools help drive the digital transformation.
Mike Ryan is a Product Marketing Manager at Thermo Fisher Scientific. His focus is defining digital connectivity solutions supporting the connected laboratory, accelerating scientific discoveries and streamlining lab operations.