Boost Staff Performance by Automating Your Molecular Testing
Traditional molecular testing entails a great deal of hands-on, manual work performed by trained laboratory professionals. With an ongoing shortage of medical laboratory scientists and an industry stressed by the need to respond to a pandemic, labs are struggling to find every opportunity to boost staff performance and maintain testing integrity. Automating molecular workflow and relying on a molecular LIMS allows for a more productive use of valuable tech time and eliminates time-consuming tasks that are prone to human error.
Molecular Testing Involves Complex Manual Processes
The high complexity of molecular diagnostic analysis requires many clinical laboratories to use labor-intensive manual processes that are lacking the level of automation seen in high-volume chemistry and hematology testing. The amount of hands-on processing creates a scenario that is ripe for errors. In molecular testing, there may be numerous spreadsheets involved for data evaluation, reporting, and sample and inventory tracking, which opens the door for error. Mis-pipetting into a 96-well plate or accidently moving a row in a spreadsheet of thousands of patients can result in hours of work to make the corrections; or worse, inaccurate results being reported.
Lack of Standardization & Shifting Workflow Processes
In addition, the level of complexity involved in molecular testing makes it difficult to standardize and automate. Because molecular diagnostics is not as established as other lab areas, its QC standards and regulations are not well defined. Lack of standards across molecular testing means that different laboratories can perform the same assays with different processes. Molecular testing also involves dynamic workflows that may need to adapt “on-the-fly” when algorithms change based on evolution of clinical data or if there are changes in laboratory functionalities.
Molecular LIMS Offers Dynamic Workflow Support
Integrating data management software that specifically supports molecular testing helps to modernize and strengthen laboratory processes. A molecular LIMS can automate workflow processes and sample management and support dynamic workflows. Systems that facilitate rules-based reflex testing, transformation of machine data into decipherable reports, and complex mapping of results from different platforms are a great asset that can free up staff to perform other duties. By automating your workflow with a molecular-focused, dynamic LIMS, laboratory efficiency gains are realized. These gains are particularly important considering the ongoing shortage of qualified medical laboratory scientists.
Patient Safety Gains
Having a molecular IT solution also improves patient safety by replacing manual spreadsheets and automating processes that are open to human error. In a spreadsheet it is incredibly easy to shift a field and accidently move patient data, and there is no audit trail to track who performed each step and when it was completed. A molecular LIMS adds the ability to track specimens and audit task performance bringing visibility to the molecular diagnostics segment. Tracking molecular data in a LIMS also allows review of cumulative patient data and QC support, tasks that historically have been performed by manually combing through reams of data.
The LIMS’ ability to help standardize the data evaluation methods and automate reporting through connectivity increases patient safety and drives repeatable and reliable processes.
In summary, molecular LIMS integration can enhance safety and process quality and free staff to focus on more valuable tasks by reducing manual steps and error-prone processes.
Orchard Molecular includes dynamic workflow support that orchestrates the entire molecular testing process from pre-analytical through post-analytical. Our molecular solution is part of a comprehensive and integrated enterprise solution that includes clinical, pathology, microbiology, toxicology, outreach, and point-of-care testing. Our systems capture data in a searchable, integrated format and offer a flexible implementation, allowing Orchard to meet the connectivity, workflow, and reporting needs of any size molecular laboratory. The solution allows rapid adoption of diverse molecular diagnostics, including support for biochemical genetics, carrier screening, cytogenetics, infectious disease testing, prenatal testing, newborn screening, and more.