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addition, as mentioned previously, systems such as this are meant to interface with just about anything, and this is another set of features that transfers easily from the LIMS into the clinical model. Nicoleta Economou, regional marketing

specialist, clinical informatics at PerkinElmer, and Greg Moody, executive director life science analytics at PerkinElmer, illustrated a somewhat different approach. They maintain that PerkinElmer has a variety of products that could be and are used by their customers within the clinical laboratory situation. Some of them help manage workflow, while others might interface with instruments – whatever the need, it would be addressed by a collection of products that best fits the customer’s requirements. Thus, instead

Reliance on manual processes

represents a major expenditure in time for personnel, but also

creates numerous real and potential compliance errors

of focusing on specific products and adding features to those products to meet the customers’ demands, they look at the entire industry’s needs and focus their solutions on that. They look to the regulatory requirements, and the features needed, and use their products as pieces of the puzzle to create the right solution. For example, where they saw a need in translational medicine, they looked to that specific area to create a model for their solution. They looked at the data called for and being used for that specific area when creating a solution, in order to understand what the customers were going to need.

CLEAN ROOMS AND PAPERLESS LABORATORIES Historically, LIMS systems have been more geared towards quality control chemistry rather than microbiology. According to Michael Goetter, general manager for informatics at Lonza Bioscience: LIMS ‘haven’t been very good at managing microbiological evaluation tests, or the volume of testing required, and LIMS scheduling is usually batch-based rather than location- centred. A LIMS is also unlikely to offer dynamic maps of a clean room, or other visualisation and trending capabilities.’ Lonza Bioscience’s MODA system remedies this deficiency. Unusually, along with the software package

comes bespoke mobile computing hardware, to provide a completely paperless and automated process for the planning, scheduling and execution of quality control (QC) micro testing, and the collection, analysis and reporting of

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results, combined with trend analysis and advanced data visualisation tools. ‘We’ve done the difficult bit, which is to bring computing resources into a clean room, Goetter said. ‘Hardware includes sanitisable tablets, barcode printers, and scanners, trolleys, and associated equipment.’ In the past, many manufacturers’ processes

for QC micro testing were manual, creating considerable opportunity for error. ‘From scheduling through to sample collection, testing, and results analysis and reporting, the majority of stages involve manual input of data, either onto paper or into spreadsheets,’ Goetter explained. Trained personnel could thus effectively spend many hours a day on just inputting data and results into spreadsheets, databases and reports. ‘This reliance on manual processes represents a major expenditure in time for personnel, but also creates numerous real and potential compliance errors.’ With MODA, by contrast: ‘From the initial

barcoding of each sample, there is effectively no manual data entry; the operator can directly capture data electronically in the clean room, and these are walked step by step through the standard operating procedures (SOPs) as tests on the sample are carried out. Personnel are automatically alerted if there are any critical events, and a whole suite of analytical and ad hoc reporting tools and validated report formats are built in, combined with dynamic visual maps that can highlight if there are any issues in a clean room or water system, for example.’ MODA is ideally suited to aseptic and regulated manufacturing operations, because of its ability potentially to handle and analyse hundreds of

thousands of location-dependent – rather than batch-centred environmental samples – Goetter concluded.

LAB, LOTTERY, MORTUARY Autoscribe, too, has been looking at expansion beyond the usual niches. Its flagship LIMS platform, Matrix Gemini, has been installed in the more obvious settings such as pharmaceutical manufacturing, food and beverage testing, stability testing, hospital or veterinary services, biological sample testing, and biobanking. About 25 per cent of Autoscribe’s current business is in healthcare, including pharmaceutical manufacturing, hospital and human/veterinary laboratory services. While the veterinary field is one the firm

is targeting as a key area for global growth, its applicability goes much further: ‘We have also installed our systems in a nuclear power plant, an aeronautical design setting, and in a hospital mortuary’, founder and CEO John Boother remarked. The company was also asked to, and succeeded in, configuring and installing Matrix Gemini as the management system for a major UK lottery. ‘It is the lottery management system that

exemplifies just how ultimately configurable the system is,’ explained Boother. ‘One field that we are now looking at as a potentially new growth area for Matrix Gemini is the rental market for equipment and vehicles. We are really limited only by our physical resources. ‘Matrix Gemini carries out all the functions

required of a LIMS, but what sets the dual desktop and web-enabled system apart from other LIMS platforms is the degree of


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