audit trails for data and manage and track samples, explains Interactive Software product director Sharon Williams. Graphical tools make it possible to

interact with data, and manage and query disease and patient information according to regulatory permissions. ‘When you have multiple types of data, including both patient, sample and disease-related data, some of the key issues and barriers to improving that seamless connectivity through digitalisation centre on having data in formats that can be understood by these different platforms,’ says Williams. Parallel this with the need to retain data value as that information flows through a workflow to analytical endpoints. ‘Disconnect can result in the loss of data context or utility, which then impacts on how you can model from that data,’ Williams says. ‘And while it may not necessarily be possible to standardise or integrate your systems at the outset, at least in the shorter term, finding an approach to linking that data in a meaningful way – through an appropriate LIMS system, or potentially multiple different LIMS systems – is still important.’ Technological challenges to digitalisation are, understandably, a key

consideration for any lab, but change management should also be high on the list, Williams suggests. ‘Scientists carrying out everyday processes and procedures will have their standard working practices, and implementation of any new platform may, in the shorter-term, cause issues at the level of everyday practice and efficiency.’ This issue can be compounded when labs need to interact with each other, and with possibly different technological setups and practices. ‘It’s a toss-up between the importance of getting the day job done effectively and efficiently under the umbrella of compliance constraints, versus integrating the systems and platforms that will help to connect the various parts of that workflow.’ So, any drive to effect new approaches

to enabling more seamless digitalisation must involve the end user, as well as the IT department, decision-makers and purse- string holders, Williams says. ‘Just as there can be a disconnect between software and hardware systems, so there is also often a disconnect between the scientists, managers and IT teams. Making sure that everyone is on board and engaged with change is critical.’ Before embarking on new software/hardware acquisition for

any stage in that digitalisation process, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of what you want to achieve, as well as what this achievement will look like with respect to change for the user, data flow and compliance. Despite these caveats, the ability

to digitalise a lab can have important implications for the healthcare sector, as well as for research, manufacturing and quality control settings, Williams adds. ‘We recently worked to integrate a university Covid testing lab, to integrate LIMS and other platforms with the qPCR, rack scanners, equipment and a registration portal for their testing kits. This was a great demonstration of the flexibility of our platform and allowed us to [show] how to connect a process from beginning to end. In this case we achieved automation from the point of self-registration, to scanning received samples, testing and results generation, and then automation of necessary communication out of the system, dependent on the results. For example, the system will automatically send out emails to individuals who have a negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR test result, and automatically alerts the contact centre to call those who have tested positive.’

White Papers now available online

Best Practice Guide - Modern Accelerators PRACE Hardware accelerators offer certain advantages over general-purpose Central Processing Units (CPUs) as they provide a greater computational throughput when applications exhibit high degrees of data parallelism, due to their highly parallel architectural design and high-bandwidth memory systms.

How COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation and how laboratory orchestration platforms are changing the landscape

THERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIC Creating a digitally connected laboratory environment to automate and accelerate science is critical.

Enabling Digital Agility in the Lab: Why Lightweight IT Solutions are Needed to Achieve Data Independence MERCK Many laboratories today seem to fall into one of two extremes for data management: at one end, those that labor under complex, costly and customized IT infrastructures, such as LIMS or SDMS.

Enabling Remote Operations

THERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIC Many routine operations and maintenance tasks can be performed remotely.



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