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4 Tips for Improving Lab Sample Management Workflows

Research and clinical laboratories alike are continuously striving to improve their lab sample management workflows. As more organizations invest in translational and collaborative research, the need to collect samples with higher integrity and reproducibility increases. By improving their sample management workflows, labs can generate more reproducible and reliable endpoints while also boosting processing efficiency. Standardizing processes and workflows can help improve identification methods and reduce processing errors within laboratories. 

Common ways to improve your lab sample management workflows include:

  1. Standardize the processes within your lab.
    Developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for your laboratory sample management increases the reliability of endpoint samples and therefore the assay results. Well-developed SOPs will account for common troubleshooting methods and provide mechanisms for users to document abnormalities. This in turn will provide more insight to groups downstream about the sample fidelity. SOPs also act as excellent training resources for new staff and ensure the entire team is well trained and prepared for managing samples in the lab.

  2. Determine your laboratory capacity.
    Establishing capacity for any workflow is important. Determining the capacity of both your laboratory staff as well as equipment capacity is important to establish limits that will guide the most effective and reliable lab sample management workflow. By evaluating the available capacity of staff and equipment, new insights can be learned to improve lab and sample processing efficiency.
     
  3. Automate where possible. By introducing automation methods, even if they are as straightforward as barcode generation and scanning, you can improve the laboratory capacity as well as reduce the potential for errors. Barcodes in particular will enhance sample identification and minimize additional effort from laboratory staff. Other advanced methods of automation, such as robotic processing, may also provide value but are typically more costly and can increase processing time in some cases. 
  4. Deploy integrated systems that help laboratory work. Using software systems in the lab that do not hinder sample management processes, but instead enhance them, is important for gaining adoption and boosting laboratory morale. By having integrated systems that are easy-to-use, researchers can perform work faster with less ramp-up time, and can recognize discrepancies easier. Downstream, integrated systems offer organization leadership the mechanisms to track workflow data over time with the ability to easily adjust workflows to improve processing.

LabKey Sample Manager

Developed in coordination with our lab partners, LabKey Sample Manager has been intuitively designed to boost the efficiency and productivity of laboratories. The application allows for the registration and tracking of samples and their derivatives, as well as the assignment of samples to custom sample processing workflow jobs. This provides a flexible yet standard mechanism of capturing tasks in each workflow, and can act as a virtual record of sample processing. Additionally, Sample Manager allows laboratory staff to easily capture data generated from these workflows and associate them with samples. 

Contact Us for more information regarding Sample Manager.

Related Post: Benefits of Unifying Lab Samples with Assay Data

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