Choose the Cloud-based LIMS that’s best for you – Here’s how!

We’ve been constantly striving to move towards automated, paperless processes in laboratories. Greater laboratory efficiency has always been a major motivator for doing so. The transition of course requires the right IT support, hardware, and a solid management system such as the laboratory information management system (LIMS).

Benefits of cloud-based LIMS software

Today, laboratories rely on different tools to manage the variety, velocity, and volume of data. High throughput technologies that are being used today increase the complexity and quantity of data that needs to be processed on a daily basis. Besides, organizations operate globally and interact with laboratories around the world leading to a constant flow of data beyond geographies and locations. LIMS helps organizations tide over the many challenges by helping them automate business processes, facilitate data capture, and streamline workflows.

The LIMS market globally is expected to touch $1.7B by 2025 from $1B in 2020 considering a CAGR of 12.1% thanks to technological advancements and the growing adoption of cloud-based LIMS.

R&D partnerships are increasing rapidly too, necessitating a perfect solution that ensures end-to-end integration of the lab across functions. It is evident LIMS is critical for the survival and success of laboratories but that does not mean you would simply want to buy it off the shelf without even evaluating your needs.

The right LIMS application will improve internal competencies and offer a sustainable competitive edge in no time. But selecting the right LIMS application is crucial and an earnest review of the needs of process owners is necessary from a LIMS perspective.

Many questions come to mind when choosing the best LIMS. On-premise or cloud, which parameters to consider while selecting LIMS, would there be challenges in implementation and adoption – the questions can be endless. As the need for operational efficiency, decreased cost, flexibility, and security continue to rise, modern laboratories are now in the favor of having cloud-based LIMS.

It’s time we delved deeper into LIMS to understand what it’s all about and why a cloud-based LIMS may be the best match for your laboratory.

How does a good Laboratory Information Management System help you?

The primary role of LIMS is to remove blocks that stand in the way of attaining operational efficiency. A modern LIMS facilitates workflow automation and management, enables data analysis, and supports regulatory compliance. It also plays a big role in facilitating audit trails and integrates with instruments, devices, and systems. But in order to ensure that the LIMS plays its part perfectly well within your lab environment, it needs to be implemented, integrated, and validated properly. You need to also plan for its maintenance and upgrade early on.

Things to remember while choosing LIMS

A thorough business process analysis (BPA) can maximize the value of LIMS. The focus of selection should not be to merely implement a system that can speed up existing work processes but to have one that is designed to optimize workflows. Laboratory stakeholders need to have a series of discussions and process walk-throughs to create a Requirements Matrix to choose the right LIMS and ensure a successful implementation. You need to determine its place in the laboratory systems architecture roadmap especially if the implementation is going to be followed by integration with a large number of instruments and systems and if it’s going to be deployed at multiple sites. You need to have a strategic vision to foresee risks and the possible strategies you may want to consider for mitigating them.

Is Cloud the future?

Most would think so.

Modern enterprises do believe the cloud is a huge step forward and is being touted as the next big thing. The latest LIMS comes with multiple hosting options but the one that you should consider should align well with your business goals and the standards established by IT. While many are still content with on-premise deployment, there is a growing demand for cloud-hosted fully managed deployment (SaaS).

While the enterprise deployment usually involves installing the LIMS software on the customers’ server and data is also maintained on their servers guarded by a corporate-wide firewall for optimal security, the SaaS model has several users operating on a single instance of the software and database. This kind of coexistence is usually referred to as a multi-tenant mode though you have the option of choosing a single-tenant mode also if security is your primary concern. You are accordingly provided dedicated infrastructure but at a slightly higher cost.

There are multiple advantages to using cloud-based LIMS. Here are some of the top ones that make it so popular:

  • It’s cost-effective- You have the PAYG option where you pay as you go only for what you need
  • It reduces maintenance costs – You save a lot due to the absence of license fee, in-house servers, dedicated resources, and costs associated with hardware and software maintenance
  • Minimizes dependence on dedicated IT resources – Vendor provides the necessary infrastructure and support thereby ensuring that you are able to manage with minimal resources
  • Easy to scale – Fast and flexible scalability allows you to expand as per the quantity of data and changing business needs
  • Enables backup and disaster recovery – No up-front investment is required to protect data as the backup and recovery solutions take care of it irrespective of the size of your data and business
  • Greater efficiency – The vendor takes full responsibility for its smooth functioning and communicates in advance when a downtime is scheduled
  • Quick deployment – Deployment time is much lesser as the application is up and running immediately since it is deployed by the vendor in the cloud
  • Automated updates – Quick and automatic updates to update infrastructure without hassle save time and effort

Since there are multiple vendors and diverse hosting options, it may be difficult to choose between on-premise and cloud-based LIMS on the basis of the total cost of ownership. A thorough assessment of your business needs would therefore be a good idea to ensure you are on the right track. While doing so, make sure that your LIMS system is suitably equipped to integrate with your instruments and other related systems.

Validating LIMS

You also need to validate the system following its implementation to ensure that it is working just the way it is supposed to. Regulatory agencies require validation to ensure data accuracy and integrity in the systems. From a regulatory as well as product quality perspective, it is important to maintain a detailed audit trail of the data.

Every time you make changes to the system you need to validate it again. Commonly referred to as Computer System Validation (CSV), this form of validation is necessary when you configure a new system or modify it with upgrades, patches, extensions, etc. A risk-based assessment is usually recommended to determine test cases along with the level of testing required.

As with everything else, precise validation too is possible only when you review your requirements critically prior to validation. Precise validation testing will ensure that the systems work perfectly well over the full software development lifecycle. Also, pay attention to streamlining the paperwork as precision is required in documentation too in order to fulfill regulatory compliance.

Planning is the key to cloud-based LIMS adoption

While customization is a good thing it is often accompanied by complexities and increased cost of maintenance. There will be several integrations too and the need for extensions and enhancements will continue to grow as the nature of your business evolves. It is therefore important to keep scalability and maintenance factors in mind while planning for your LIMS system.

Once you are able to implement LIMS effectively, you need to ensure that your people use it. There has to be proper communication and collaboration for effective adoption to take place. Frequent communication with stakeholders often leads to active participation and successful adoption. An extensive LIMS training program is also recommended so that everyone gets acquainted with the system quickly and learns to use its myriad features. Only then will they be able to use it consistently and enable the new LIMS to add business value to your laboratory.

Choose the right cloud-based LIMS solutions with Trigent

Trigent has been helping laboratories manage growing business challenges with cloud-based LIMS. Our LIMS solutions help you deal with the growing volumes of data effortlessly. We can implement and validate a LIMS for you and ensure that it is cost-effective and efficient.

Moving to the cloud is an important decision and we can help you with everything you need with a highly systematic approach to laboratory information management.

Allow us to help you. Call us today for a consultation.

Top 7 Trends That Will Drive Healthcare in 2021

2020 brought along challenges as well as opportunities for diverse sectors including healthcare. We’re now stepping into an era of digital transformation that will push the boundaries for healthcare in incredible ways with a profound impact.

As per the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare’s 2020 Index, the US healthcare industry is missing out on billions of dollars in potential annual savings due to lack of adequate workflow automation to carry out common business transactions. Apart from the $122 billion that it has already saved through automation, it can save an additional $16.3 billion by fully adopting nine common transactions.

The CAQH said in a statement, “For example, each fully automated claims status inquiry costs $11.71 less than the same transaction conducted manually for the medical industry and $10.92 less for the dental industry. Similarly, every eligibility and benefit verification converted from manual to electronic saves the medical industry $8.64 and the dental industry $8.75. Considering the millions of times these transactions occur every day, the savings potential across the healthcare economy is significant.”

The healthcare sector is now more focused than ever on simplifying workflows and reducing the burden associated with administrative tasks while keeping automation at the helm of all its initiatives. We bring to the fore the top 7 trends in healthcare that iterate the role of automation in making patient-centered, outcome-based systems a priority.

  1. API-enabled EHRs to improve interoperability

Application Programming Interface (API) enabled EHRs means patients get better access to data and manage healthcare outside the healthcare facility using their smartphones or computers. API adoption enhances interoperability and patient data sharing between providers thereby reducing clinical burden, and facilitates better care coordination. When deployed correctly, next-gen APIs create secure and compliant integrations to provide actionable data and advanced care through multiple avenues and channels.

Ben Moscovitch, project director of Health Information Technology at Pew Charitable Trusts opines, “If standard APIs were broadly adopted in health care, patients could access and compile their data from multiple providers while clinicians could process complicated information and make care recommendations. APIs would also offer other benefits, such as facilitating the exchange of clinical data among health care providers.”

  1. Robotic process automation or RPA for scaling operational efficiency

The data collected from various internal and external sources such as insurance portals, third-party portals, ERPs, clinical applications, scheduling applications, etc. can be overwhelming, and streamlining the flow of information across all these channels can be a labor-intensive task. Robotic Process Automation provides the much-needed respite by extracting relevant information from multiple sources and automating routine tasks to reduce costs, minimize errors, and improve operational efficiency.

According to Gartner, 50% of healthcare providers in the U.S. will invest in RPA in the next 3 years as a means to optimize costs and healthcare resources giving further impetus to RPA adoption. Explains Dr. Anurag Gupta, research vice president at Gartner, “Cost optimization is a consistently recurring theme among healthcare providers. The money that RPA saves by not having to spend as much on an unreformed process translates into cash that is available for front-end clinical functions, which is especially important while healthcare organizations combat the COVID-19 crisis.”

  1. Telehealth for remote care

Telehealth has been instrumental in providing care virtually during the pandemic that made social distancing mandatory. In no time, everyone was convinced about its immense potential and is fast becoming a preferred form of medical care. As President of VirtualMed Staff, Jack Williams explains, “When patients feel their care is as good or better than a routine visit in person, all from the comfort of home, those same patients will no longer endure long wait times when it is avoidable.”

Using technologies such as streaming media and video conferencing, telehealth will allow patients to choose healthcare providers and services irrespective of their geographic location through digital telehealth platforms. It will eliminate patient no-shows, travel time, wait time, etc. ensuring better efficiency and revenue for medical practitioners. Telehealth is also playing a pivotal role in improving disaster emergency response services through advanced volunteer registration, biological surveillance, hospital bed availability tracking, patient record management, etc.

Telehealth will continue to play a big role in addressing the healthcare needs of patients as part of their long-term healthcare plan even after the pandemic is behind us. A hybrid healthcare model has emerged ever since the pandemic accelerated advances in remote managed care for those with chronic conditions and those who had COVID-19 symptoms but did not require hospitalization. What we can now expect is a combination of telehealth and in-person visits to manage everything from routine follow-ups to critical care.

  1. Cloud-based LIMS for continuous access to data

The global Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.1% from 2019 to touch $2.21 billion by 2026. What was earlier conceptualized as a system to record test samples and particulars about donor and patient samples has now evolved to join the league of next-gen healthcare solutions using cloud technology.

LIMS on the cloud can connect multiple stakeholders and give users complete control over sample tracking, processing, and delivering while attaining scalability in their business. Patients too can track their records and maintain personal health data easily. LIMS software can schedule appointments and follow-ups for healthcare specialists and time slots of lab equipment in a highly efficient manner.

The modern LIMS software can be leveraged effectively as an interface between lab equipment and other devices in real time to enable the import and export of data for better coordination.

  1. Salesforce health cloud for improved patient experience

Salesforce health cloud provides a complete view of patients through easy-to-decipher dashboards that collate data from different sources to unite healthcare provider siloes. Using this data, healthcare providers can map the entire patient journey understanding their relationships to specialists at different junctures of healthcare.

Data is collected from different sources such as EHRs, medical devices, wearable activity trackers, etc. to build a patient history that includes details such as medical history, current medical conditions, lab results, etc. Salesforce admins can incorporate the necessary security features to ensure security compliance and also provide an omnichannel experience to patients so as to allow them to reach out for care from an app or channel they are most comfortable with.

  1. Artificial intelligence and integrated wearable technology for better health management

Although AI has been around for years, it has now become ubiquitous and a game-changer from a clinical, operational, and financial point of view. With machine learning, AI can segregate data, so that healthcare providers understand patients and their condition better to make more informed decisions. Shared insights across a large patient population can help chart the treatment course for patients to ensure better outcomes in the future.

AI is now helping develop predictive models during the pandemic to track the virus and estimate the risk based on the spread of the disease. It is also playing a big role in genomics – the study of an individual’s genes – attaching findings to electronic medical records of patients to optimize clinical decision-making.

Also trending are wearables that allow individuals to record steps, heart rates, blood pressure, and overall exercise regime. The global wearable market is expected to increase in size at a CAGR of 15.9% from 2020 to 2027 from USD 32.63 billion in 2019.
With AI and machine learning in the picture, wearables will help transform clinical research and treatment protocols while ensuring better more positive outcomes in healthcare.

  1. A digital front door to offer personalized care

Social distancing brought along a new challenge for healthcare providers – ramping up their digital capabilities to stay connected with patients during their hour of need. The idea of having a digital front door thus became necessary which was expected to be simple to use but purpose-built.

Writes Bruce Orcutt is Vice President of Marketing at ABBYY – Patients need healthcare services that can meet them where they are: in their own homes. Utilizing video platforms, native apps, and personalized web portals, digital healthcare offerings support a healthcare system that is convenient, timely, and best meets the needs of a wide array of patients.

No matter where a provider is on their digital journey, it is important to have granular, accurate, and comprehensive data to widen the digital front door. Discovering and analyzing operational processes and identifying bottlenecks will be important steps to enhancing operational workflows, reducing patient wait times, and creating a seamless patient experience. Considering that a digital front door creates first impressions in the minds of patients when they approach a healthcare facility, many are now investing in mobile apps for their organizations to host patient portals, telehealth visits, and other chores.

Wrapping up

The healthcare industry is all set to attain new frontiers with transformative technologies at its helm. At Trigent, we help healthcare organizations deploy future-ready technologies to get a 360-degree view of their people, processes, and data. We believe connected healthcare is the key to improving patient engagement and delivering quality care.

Allow us to help you with integrated healthcare solutions that will drive the future. Book a consultation today to know more.