The definition of LIMS is ever-evolving, with the technology used to develop it continually advancing and the needs of laboratories frequently changing. What remains constant, however, is the need to streamline sample tracking and traceability, data collection, and report generation. This is a continual pressing concern for the managers of academic, clinical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology labs, which are always looking for new solutions. LIMS was created to help fulfill these needs by automating the reporting process, managing data and inventory, monitoring workflows, assigning tasks, and storing data.
Many industries require barcodes to track their inventory, samples, and equipment. To integrate the data from the barcodes into a tracking system, the barcodes must be scanned when each item is processed. So, how do scanners relay the information from barcodes to a computer?
Barcodes are used worldwide as one of the most efficient means of tracking packages and containers. However, the use of barcodes is not solely limited to labels. Living organisms can also be barcoded genetically, allowing individual cells to be monitored and tracked.
As any lab will attest, organizing your bank of cell lines is key to ensuring that your research runs smoothly and efficiently. However, this is easier said than done. How often do students and post-docs go searching for a specific cell line or passage number, only to discover that they cannot find what they’re looking for or that they’ve run out of the cells they need? Here are 4 simple ways that proper labeling can safeguard your lab against mismanaged cell line banking.
Healthcare institutions tend to use diverse systems for labeling specimens, each incorporating fail-safes at different levels of collection and processing. Many hospitals practice the Swiss cheese model of error prevention, using multiple layers (or fail-safes) to cover up any possible holes, preventing errors from slipping through.1 When it comes to reducing labeling errors, researchers have identified several types of interventions that act as additional fail-safes, many of them incorporating modern technology, such as barcodes, radio frequency identification (RFID), and automated systems.
For Part 1 of the series, detailing the costs of labeling errors in the clinic, click here.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is one of the most commonly performed laboratory procedures. This technique, used to amplify DNA or RNA sequences, is integral to a host of industries and environments, including healthcare, research, forensics, and agriculture. This powerful technique can be used to measure levels of gene activation, discover mutations in samples from patients with cancer, and identify sources of bacterial infection. However, despite recent advances in PCR technology, labeling PCR tubes remains problematic.
Previously, we established that thermal printers are ideal for printing barcodes. The use of barcodes has multiple advantages, including improved data management and lower costs. With a wide range of uses, barcodes can be used everywhere from retail stores, to hospitals, and industrial work sites. However, barcode labels are not one size fits all, with different types of 1D and 2D barcodes each having their specific uses. Here we’ll give a brief overview of the different options available, to help you chose the barcode that will best suit your needs.