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Integrated Laboratory Informatics – Are Organisations Really Exploiting the Benefits?

The ideas behind integrated laboratory informatics are not new, but there are serious questions as to how many organisations are fully, or even partially, realising these benefits. This article will both re-emphasise the potential benefits and provide examples of successful digitalisation in the laboratory environment. It will also briefly explore factors that may prevent organisations realising the benefits of innovation.

In the Winter 2021 edition of this magazine Autoscribe Informatics contributed an article titled ‘Digitisation versus Digitalisation – Understanding the Difference and the Role of LIMS in Achieving both’1. In this, they described digitisation as the transformation of manual or paper-based operations to a digital format. While it was stated that digitalisation was more difficult to define it was described as the way that the digital environment, as enabled by the process of digitisation, can affect the way we work and do business.

Without a doubt, digitalisation is currently a hot topic with many articles, conference papers and webinars devoted to the subject. However, there is at least circumstantial evidence that it is a topic that may be more talked about than practiced. This article will outline why this statement has been made and reiterate the potential benefits of digitalisation. It will also identify some of the key barriers to implementing digitalisation in the laboratory that are often associated with an organisation’s resistance to change which can stifle innovation.

Autoscribe Informatics runs regular webinars on topics relevant to laboratory informatics. These are public events open to all. Two recent well-attended events have been ‘Utilizing LIMS to Take Your Laboratory Paperless’ and ‘Incorporating ISO 17025 into your laboratory’. In these webinars, polls are taken asking questions relevant to the topics, and the answers to these questions can be revealed.