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One instance, a second server or a second lab ID?

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).

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Distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa

Khemia Software (www.khemia.com) is pleased to announce that a distribution agreement has been made with Pole Business Enterprise for Sub-Saharan Africa.  Pole Business Enterprise was founded in 2002 by Nompara Daniel Pole and is managed by a team of dynamic individuals who bring a wealth of management, consulting and extensive LIMS knowledge to the table.

Any question regarding Khemia Software or Pole Business Enterprise may be sent to Robert Benz at rbenz@khemia.com and/or Danny Pole at danny.pole@gmail.com respectively.

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LIMS Scheduler

In the current laboratory setting, a LIMS is being asked to account for far more than just laboratory work. A prominent example is the need for an information management system to organize routine and non-routine events. To meet these ever expanding requirements, Khemia Software has developed a Scheduler feature that helps laboratories better prepare for field sampling, sample pickups and other laboratory tasks.

Within most commercial, environmental laboratories, sampling and sample pickup are vital portions of the business.  It is often a portion of a laboratory that is often not closely observed, neither in terms of business efficiency nor regulation.   As the breadth of regulatory oversight is starting to expand into field work, documentation of field work, actual and pre-scheduled, as well as the use of proper field techniques are becoming ever more important.

Khemia Software’s Scheduler included in the Omega 11 LIMS is a complete event calendar that displays scheduled events in a weekly or monthly format.  When a date on the calendar is double clicked, a screen displaying any special instructions pops up in which the following details may be listed:

  • Special instructions
  • Field sampling information
  • Resources required for sampling

As well, a route may be defined and mapped for the daily schedule and with a click of a button from this same screen.  The addresses are placed into Google Maps which will show the purposed routes to the various locations.  At any point needed, the start point or order of stops may be altered as needed.

A short video clip of the Omega Scheduler may be seen at https://youtu.be/0s0UydDH3f4.

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Ad Hoc Queries

In almost every laboratory, a group of standard queries are developed within the LIMS.  This prearranged group of queries covers 80-90% of the queries most laboratories and analysts will ever need.  It is that “other” 10-20% of unique queries that can and will be the sticking point.  It is often the lack of quick, customizable queries that can trip up productivity or limit quality control checks.

Khemia’s Omega 11 overcomes this common stumbling point by offering an ad hoc query writer.  Ad hoc queries may be created to pull any needed data within the LIMS.  This tool may be used by both a LIMS administrator familiar with SQL and/or by an analyst using a query writing tool available within Access.

A short demonstration video may be seen at https://youtu.be/XTAqnEFZlT8.

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