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Laboratory Informatics: An Overview

Laboratory Informatics (LI) refers to information technology that is specifically developed to optimize laboratory operations.

Laboratory Informatics (LI) refers to information technology that is specifically developed to optimize laboratory operations. It mainly deals with the application of information technology to automate different tasks in a laboratory that include gathering, storage classification, retrieval, and dissemination of information.

A Brief Look at Laboratory Informatics:

Laboratory Informatics focuses on different aspects of core technologies used in a laboratory.  Modern labs are equipped with different technologies that need to be integrated to create a full-fledged system. The technology focuses on every aspect of laboratory administration, which includes compliance with governance policies, intellectual property protection, data warehousing, knowledge management, LIMS, and electronic laboratory notebooks.

Laboratory Informatics has gained critical importance because of the wide use of LIMS in different industries. Modern LIMs have different applications and are used in diverse industries such as the pharmaceutical, clinical trials, analytical testing, manufacturing, public health, medical devices, biotech, and forensics sectors. The generic LIMS cannot prove useful in all applications. Laboratory Informatics focuses on the development of new technologies that help create customized LIMS for different applications that can efficiently handle all functions of a laboratory in different industries.

Why Laboratory Informatics has gained Importance
  • Modern laboratories use different kinds of databases and software to collect, analyze, and store information produced in a laboratory. Some of the software programs used in a laboratory include cheminformatics software, bioinformatics software, LIMS, and other kinds of software. In simple words, Laboratory Informatics covers all software used in laboratories today.
  • Companies involved in creating lifesaving drugs greatly rely on the research work done in their laboratories. Without Laboratory Informatics, the laboratory staff gets burdened with converting humungous data produced in a laboratory into reports that can be used by all levels of management of an enterprise to make timely decisions.
  • Laboratory Informatics focuses on integrating all technologies used in data mining purposes to ensure that all laboratory data is available to management for making the right business decisions. The technology sets the lab staff free from data mining responsibilities, which allows them to focus on their core research work in their domain.
  • A laboratory produces several data formats that include image sequences, instrument raw data files, spreadsheets, etc.  The management of an enterprise is always faced with a challenge to preserve and integrate several different data formats. Laboratory Informatics plays a major role in the integration of data that can be used by different levels of management.
  • Multinational corporations have laboratories located all around the world. Laboratory Informatics helps these companies configure their systems in a way such that they need not manage these remotely located laboratories as independent entities. LIMS enables enterprises to speedily access and share enterprise data in order to make quick and informed scientific decisions. Laboratory Informatics’ ability to integrate different scientific tools is becoming increasingly important for companies that strive to increase productivity and tap markets worldwide.

While LIMS focuses on optimization of all tasks and procedures performed in a laboratoryScience Articles, Laboratory Informatics focuses on maximizing the capabilities of technologies used in lab operations that will bring about more process efficiency and enable companies to adopt the best practices.

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