Many laboratories have at least two or more individual laboratories in their company’s organization. These laboratories may be close together or across the country; They may fall under similar or much different regulatory environments; They may act as parts of a whole or as an individual laboratory, quite literally subbing out samples to sister laboratories much like they would to any sub-contract laboratory. Upon occasion, even simple communication via the internet may be sporadic. Each laboratory is unique in its organization and thus there are different answers as to what will fit a particular laboratory best when implementing a LIMS.
The simplest, and often least expensive method is to have multiple laboratories share one LIMS implementation instance, with one or more laboratories remotely logging in to share the same database. The primary advantage of this is cost, however, the primary issue with this type of setup is that multipleboth laboratories share the same login, client, analysis and instrument lists. In some instances this can work quite well, while in other cases it means a duplication of methods to select, awkward client and project naming and some questions as to what sample is in what location.
Another simple option that Khemia offers is a second Lab ID, allowing a separate database on the same installation instance of the server. This provides each laboratory ID a separate client, analysis, sample and instrument list—the only thing shared is the server. From this approach, each laboratory can act independently and sub-contract samples to their own laboratories with the standard “paper trail” that would accompany sub-contracted samples to any sub-contract laboratory. Compared to a completely separate server and implementation, this is a much less expensive option. One of our clients currently utilizes this approach, using one server to serve three laboratories while another server serves four.
The potential downside with this setup is communication between the remote laboratories and the server. With any issue in connectivity, the remote laboratory may not be able to backup, receive or push data to the server. In some locations, this can be an issue. It also may not be an option if any major customization exists for one location but not the other(s).
A third option is independent servers with LIMS implementation and installation at each location. The advantages to this setup are obvious: everything is independent, with no true dependence on internet quality or availability. The laboratories run completely independently and may subcontract to one another as they see fit. The downside is of course the upfront cost.
As there are many different needs, there are often many different available solutions. Khemia has found that these three solutions have fit our clients’ need to date. In a few cases, a client has used a combination of the available structures, given the organization and varied disciplines of their laboratory chain.
Written by Robert Benz, Sales & Marketing Director for Khemia Software (www.khemia.com).Read More