things to think about before buying a lab informatics system

A Laboratory Informatics Integration Tip

When integrating a new informatics solution into your lab, one thing you’ll want to make sure of is that the variety of instruments in your lab will be compatible with the new software. Make a list of your lab’s equipment and do your research to make sure it will work with the new informatics platform before you start.

How does the scale (size, people, and processes) affect the ideal informatics set-up?

Modern informatics systems come in a variety of different types and configurations to suit any researcher’s needs. If you are part of a small research lab that works out of a single location with only a few tests, using a hardware-based solution may be best. This allows you to more easily troubleshoot the hardware and keep the data safe on-site. For much larger laboratories which incorporate more processes, business lines, and employees in a global setting, there are a variety of options available, including software-based platforms. Many vendors can offer customizable solutions for a laboratory’s needs, such as the ability to translate between languages.

How will the need for significant travel or accessibility influence which informatics system is best?

As the needs for laboratories to connect with each other across great distances increases, many researchers are finding that the need to travel has also grown. As a result, having 24/7 access to your informatics systems has become crucial. With the advent of cloud-based data storage, this has become easier than ever. Many informatics systems offer such storage options, even allowing the informatics system to be completely web-based. With this option, you can access all of your research data anywhere an Internet connection is available.

How will increases in scope or scale determine which informatics system should be used?

Increases in scope or scale can bring up many fears for most laboratories. Failing to meet compliance, having a system which is no longer fit for the purpose, or having an informatics system which can no longer handle the amount of data are a few. Researching to see if the system is capable of being customized or upgraded to accommodate these changes is important.

For more resources on chemical inventory management, see; for ELNs, see; for LIMS, see; and for MSDS management systems, see