Lab Information Management Software (LIMS) Development: A Complete Guide

Lab Information Management Software (LIMS) Development A Complete Guide

Did you know that according to recent stats, the global LIMS market is expected to reach 2.88 billion USD by 2025? The dedicated LIMS solutions have been changing the face of the healthcare, medical science, and pharmaceutical sectors. Businesses nowadays are investing heavily in getting medical enterprise solutions like LIMS developed for their organizations. By hiring talented medical software developers or utilizing the service of a staff augmentation company to scale their in-house development teams, healthcare and other such businesses are leveraging the seamlessness and enhanced productivity offered by digital transformation to improve the quality of their services. 

LIMS is benefitting various institutes, from multiple industries, including medical, bioinformatics, public health, chemical manufacturing, infectious disease research, imaging, geoinformatics, drugs research, etc. And in this article, we’ll learn more about LIMS enterprise solutions and also discuss custom LIMS solution development. 

But before that, let’s have a brief overview of what a Lab Information Management software is and the key takeaways from the post.  

  • LIMS is one of the fastest-growing markets, which is about to become worth USD 2.88 billion.
  • Lab Information Management Systems are essential tools for multiple enterprises including healthcare, chemo-informatics, geology, bioinformatics, etc. 
  • A sophisticated LIMS involves advanced IoT solutions and P2P communications channels. 

What is a Lab Information Management Software?

A Lab Information Management Software solution, also known as LIMS and sometimes LIS (Laboratory Information System), is an enterprise solution that  automates the recurring tasks in any modern laboratory. From workflow management to sample data tracking and report generation, these custom enterprise solutions are designed and developed according to the specific requirements of laboratories across multiple domains 

Here are some interesting industry insights on LIMS to help you better understand the extensiveness and value of such a solution.  

It is quite evident from the above stats that the efficiency and level of automation LIMS solutions bring to various industries is not going unnoticed. More organizations are going to invest in custom enterprise solutions like LIMS, and the following are the benefits they can expect by doing so. 

Benefits of Investing in Custom LIMS Development 

A custom LIMS software solution, with its unparalleled ability to automate and streamline end-to-end lab activities, enables organizations to focus on research and science. These enterprise solutions take care of the day-to-day tasks and offer more accurate and speedy results than human workforces. Here are some of the other benefits of investing in software development services to build a custom LIMS solution. 

  • Automating the entire workflow is the most prominent benefit of incorporating a LIMS solution into your lab. 
  • With in-built rules, LIMS can automate the regulatory compliances. 
  • By integrating legacy software like the ERPs and EHRs with your LIMS solution, you can easily manage the data flow for improved storage efficiency. 
  • Sample collection and their meta records can also be managed by LIMS software solutions, which can store them in the same data warehouses. 
  • With a singular system evaluating all lab processes, the data collection and then performing analysis on the same can become extremely easy. 
  • Following SOP can become easier when the LIMS tools are designed as such to limit human interventions to the minimum. 
  • The workflow and resource management automation will improve every laboratory case’s turnaround time exponentially.  
  • With IoT development services, labs can build an ecosystem of connected devices that enhances the fluidity of business operations.  

How Does a Lab Information Management Software Work? 

How Does a Lab Information Management Software Work

Essentially, a Lab Information Management System has a set of steps they follow regardless of the industry. Here’s a brief description of the workflow on how things work in a laboratory equipped with bespoke LIMS software.

Registration

Registration

The first thing you’d do when using an enterprise solution like LIMS is register the test subject. This could be a patient getting tested for a disease, a sample for drug testing, or an extraction for the mineral check. Once the subject is added, reports generation can start by adding the label values.  

preparation

Preparation

After adding the labels to reports, the registration details can be used to initiate the internal processes. All the initial entries can then be processed as objects to start various application functionalities. At this stage, raw data will be converted to input data for the proper analyses. 

allocation

Work Allocation

By this stage, the system will have all the inputs it requires from your team, and now it will internalize the rest of the process. Here, it will allocate the various data to different external instruments and internal tools for complete analyses. Each tool will work independently and parallel to generate reports most efficiently. 

Validation

Validation

Once all the tools have analyzed the given data, it will give the first set of results. These results are then validated against sample data. Furthermore, if there is any dependency among the datasets themselves, the system can also be designed to validate the same. 

approval

Approval

After adding the labels to reports, the registration details can be used to initiate the internal processes. All the initial entries can then be processed as objects to start various application functionalities. At this stage, raw data will be converted to input data for the proper analyses. 

Test

Retest

If any discrepancies are found during internal validation, the system will automatically initiate the retests. The data will then again go to the different instruments and be analyzed by the same parameters. If the issues persist, the loop will continue until the system reaches the preset limit on re-trials. After that, it will generate the error logs. 

Reporting

Reporting

With data ready, required report templates will be generated with sample data and labels. After that, the outputs generated from the previous step can add to the reports. Thus, prepared documents can then be printed or shared via preferred communication channels. 

Archival

Archival

After preparing the report and sending it to the concerned outlet, the data can be saved in the data center for record-keeping purposes. This kind of archival of data can happen on either the cloud or the institute’s private data center. Besides, the kind of data to be stored can also be deiced to facilitate storage efficiency. 

With this, one application of the LIMS system gets completed, and then it will be ready to take more entries and evaluate the same.Want to Know the Cost of Your Custom LIMS Solution’s Development

How to Build a Custom LIMS Software for Your Institute?

Developing enterprise solutions is a tricky task. While the actual development has many interlinking processes and is littered with many potential challenges, the lead-up to the development is not free of complications either. Developing a custom LIMS software solution will require detailed planning and market research. Then, once a plan is in place, labs will need to hire software development services providers to build their solution.  

Some labs choose to develop their LIMS solutions in-house. While it has its benefits, in-house development is not a good approach for small to medium-sized businesses. In-house development requires a significant amount of investment in infrastructure and talent acquisition, which puts a tremendous deal of strain on the financial health of the company.  Some companies even choose to seek out Healthcare staff augmentation companies to avoid hiring full-time people and instead, get talented developers at a fixed hourly rate.  

Read More: Healthcare IT Staff Augmentation Guide 

Whether you choose to develop your app in house or seek software development services, the following steps will serve you well in both cases.  

Steps To Build a Custom LIMS Software

Understand Market 

When developing a dedicated and custom LIMS solution, you should research your niche market extensively. See if there already exists a wide-scope LIMS template software that you can configure as per your needs. You can also see the other LIMS software from the market and learn which of their features can make your software even more useful. You can use these existing solutions to further take references for your development team. Besides, if you’re making a LIMS solution that can help not just your institute but others in your niche, you can offer it to further improve your ROI prospects from the software development services investment. 

Plan Architecture 

LIMS, with its varied functionalities, can become a jumble of different components unless you plan out its architecture beforehand. That is why, before you begin with any of the development procedures, it’s important that you plan out its entire architecture. To start, you should keep all the different user roles in mind and then plan out their interfaces separately.

Later, you can follow the functionalities and see which data sources will need to communicate with which front-end features. You can then plan out the different processing functionalities of the software and eventually see how they all will integrate with one another. This way, when you finally get down to developing the software, you can create development modules and then work on them parallelly to enhance the process efficiency.

Furthermore, if your enterprise solution works on a next-gen tech like AI and IoT, then you should clearly define their roles and functionalities during the planning stage. If, instead of simply being an integration, your entire solution is built around a next-gen tech like IoT, then looking for expert IoT development services is also a must do task. 

MVP Development 

With the dedicated architecture in place, you’re now ready to begin with the software development procedure of your LIMS system. Understandably, software with so many composite functionalities cannot be created all simultaneously. Besides, if you really want to develop the software with utmost efficiency, you should adopt a version of Agile methodology to accomplish that. You should start by planning the core functionalities of the software and then build upon them by deciding dependencies.

The version with the core functionalities can then be prototyped to validate its functionality. Once all the core features are developed, you can launch the MVP or the Minimum Viable Product of the software to test and deploy the solution well ahead of time. Later, after more agile iterations, you will end up with a full-featured enterprise solution which will have taken much less time and resources in development. 

Create UX/UI 

A system this complex can easily lead to a complicated user interface. That is why it’s important to prioritize users experience while developing UI-UX for your LIMS solution. The team can jointly decide on an interface that meets all their needs without complicating the data flow. Ideally, all the end-user processes should have a separate interface with a wizard-like facility. Other than that, best UX practices in terms of screen transitions, wait time representation, color presets, fonts, etc. should be followed to ensure a complete utilitarian feel for the software. 

Security Configuration 

For a system with such critical information, security becomes a paramount concern. So, make sure that enough security configurations are made at each level of your software architecture that there remains no loophole. In the case of cloud solutions, you can limit data access to certain IP addresses only, protecting it from public networks.

Other than that, you can put firewall protections and facilitate obfuscation and tokenization of communications to further safeguard your solution. Many software development services providers offer network and database security experts who can help you ensure the safety of your valuable data. In case you keep all the data in your data centers, you can limit all outside accesses to it and derive user-specific roles and accesses to data. In the latter case, make sure you use protection measurement to secure the backup. 

System Integration 

Once your enterprise solution development team has placed all the security configurations, it is time to integrate your newly built custom LIMS solution with the rest of your legacy software systems. This can include EHRs and ERPs. To simplify and automate the procedure, you can work with the development team to create a dedicated interface for varied functions of the software.

Later, the team can then integrate the backend to ensure a smooth data flow. Alternatively, you can combine all of your legacy systems into one, but this has become a highly discouraged solution. Here you can learn why keeping microservices is a better way of handling IT requirements in an organization than having monolith software. 

Testing 

Since LIMS are among the most complex and intricate software solutions to design, and generally, a lot is on the stake on the quality and accuracy of their reports, it is extremely important that every modular feature of the software is tested and verified with absolute precision. Most LIMS solutions are used in institutes responsible for crucial decision-making processes, some on individual levels, others on national and even global levels. As such, you will need an experienced team of QA engineers who can take up the task and complete it with surgical correctness. The team will also be responsible for ensuring that the software complies with industrial regulations regarding the units it uses and the acceptable range of inaccuracies.
Looking to Develop a Custom LIMS Software

Wrapping It All Up!!! 

Lab Information Management Systems are among the most complex software systems out there. The amount of precision required and the intricate dependencies of varied features makes them a daunting solution to create. This is why, if you’re looking to develop LIMS software, you will need a talented technology partner who can provide the custom software development services of the highest quality.  

You will need to find a partner you can rely on to make a competent enterprise solution that is secure, integrated with the latest technologies, and easy to use. Matellio, with decades of experience, and a global client base ranging from Fortune 500 companies to SMBs, is one such reliable software development company. Our experience in various complex domains, where quality and system integrity are of the utmost importance, and the ability to create seamless custom enterprise solutions, make us a reliable partner.

If you’re ready to get things moving, send us your project requirements, and we will draft a free quote for you. You can also contact our experts directly or fill this form to book a free consultation. And in no time, our team will guide you through the end-to-end development procedure of your LIMS software to make your entire laboratory processes be automated. 

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