Tips for Implementing or Upgrading Core LIMS

Posted on Lab Informatics. 20 December, 2017

Core Informatics provides a state of the art laboratory information management system (LIMS) built on the Platform for Science (PFS) – a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution that enables web-based informatics in the cloud. The web-based nature of Core LIMS allows for scalability, support for multiple sites, and 24-hour remote access without the need for any client-side installation.

Core LIMS provides a wide array of highly configurable functionality to meet the needs of the customer including:

  • Lab Inventory and Storage Management
  • Lab Project Management
  • Electronic Document Management
  • Instrument Integration and Management
  • Integration with Other Systems
  • Chemistry and Cheminformatics
  • Molecular Biology, Cell Culture and Bioinformatics
  • High Throughput Screening (HTS)
  • Animal Study Management
  • Animal Facility Management
  • Customized Reporting
  • Workflow Management and SOP Enforcement
  • Study Management
  • User Security
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • And more

With Core LIMS flexible, component-based architecture (including database and infrastructure services), organizations have the ability to purchase the functionality required to support their present data management requirements, without the need for much custom coding or having to pay for any unnecessary services. As needs change, additional components can be purchased to meet expanded requirements. Additionally, the PFS approach for Core LIMS dramatically reduces the time and resources necessary to configure and implement the LIMS, and also ensures that your system will be stable, extensible and user-friendly.

While Core LIMS offers the potential for significant operational and business benefits for your organization, there are a number of best practices that are highly recommended when implementing or upgrading the Core LIMS solution in order to realize its full potential to optimize your laboratory operations. In this blog, we’ll discuss several recommendations that are important to follow during your Core LIMS implementation or upgrade that will help ensure that your project goes smoothly and that you get the most from your investment.

Tips for Optimizing Core LIMS™ Implementations and Upgrades

Use the API

One of the most powerful features of the Core LIMS is its API (Application Programming Interface). Almost every action that a user can perform through the interface can also be handled with an API call. This makes it possible to integrate the LIMS with your existing systems and tailor the interface for your specific needs.  Because the API uses the industry-standard Javascript language and REST protocol, there is a reduced need to get involved with vendor-specific scripting languages. Astrix team members have integrated the Core LIMS platform with multiple 3rd party databases, CRM systems and project management systems.

Understand the Core Data Model

The Core LIMS Data Model is very flexible, but it requires some experience to get the best out of it. Understanding how Assays, Experiments, Samples and Custom Entities fit together is crucial in building a scalable, extensible platform. You will want a team that has experience working with scientists and other Subject Matter Experts, who are able to translate scientific requirements into the workflow and language of Core LIMS. Astrix team members are veterans of multiple implementations, and can provide your team with best practices and lessons learned.

Plan Before You Build

Many aspects of your Core LIMS installation can be changed after you implement, but other decisions are more or less final. It’s important to understand which decisions you make at the beginning of the project will be with you for the duration of the project, and make the right decision at the beginning. Towards this end, it is imperative that all stakeholders understand the decisions that are being made, and why they are being made, before anything is configured.

Create Good Documentation

For regulatory and future maintenance requirements, the owners of the Core LIMS system need to document all the relevant changes to the system after the project ends – database fields created, code created or modified, integrations and interfaces, workflows configured, etc. Working with a quality external informatics consultant makes this easy, as they will provide the documentation for you. Documentation provided by Astrix on Core LIMS projects includes:

  • Project Plan – responsibilities, communication plan, work schedule, etc.
  • Requirements Traceability Matrix – requirements description, categorization (standard/configuration/customization), design ideas, prioritization.
  • Functional/Design Specification – relevant technical changes to the system and/or system architecture.
  • Testing Documentation – IQ/OQ/PQ scripts or protocols for validation (required for regulated laboratories).

Stay on top of New Developments

The Core platform is evolving relatively quickly, and new versions bring new capabilities.  You’ll want to keep an eye on the road ahead to determine if the functionality you need is coming in a later release, or whether you should build it now on your existing installation.  Astrix maintains a strong partnership with the Core LIMS business and development teams, so we can provide the most up-to-date information on the future direction of the Core platform.

Think about Security Early

Core LIMS has a multi-layered security framework built into the system. To fully utilize this feature, it is important to detail the desired user roles and the permissions associated with each role before you build the system. Designing and implementing user permission layers often turns out to be a bigger task than expected. Waiting until the end of the project to implement a security framework is a recipe for cost and time overruns.

The Astrix Difference

The Astrix Team brings together the technical, strategic and content knowledge necessary to effectively implement and integrate Core LIMS into your organization. Our team has proven expertise in project management, implementation, integration, validation and system optimization for Core LIMS. Our accomplished consultants also have a wealth of experience across various organization types, helping to ensure that business-specific needs, along with industry and regulatory requirements, are taken into consideration on your project.

As your laboratory needs evolve due to regulatory or business changes, it is often necessary to begin to utilize new features of Core LIMS, or upgrade to a new version that has the functionality to fulfill your changing requirements. Whether you need to implement Core LIMS as a new system, optimize or adjust your current implementation, or upgrade to a new version, Astrix can help ensure that any new configuration or customization of Core LIMS is accomplished in the most efficient, cost-effective and timely way that satisfies your present and future requirements and budget.

Let us help you with:

  • Strategic planning to make sure that your implementation/upgrade project satisfies production, operational and financial goals.
  • Core LIMS configuration and/or customization
  • Instrument integration with Core LIMS
  • Computer system (e.g., laboratory, business and manufacturing system) integration with Core LIMS
  • Data migration from legacy systems to Core LIMS
  • Core LIMS training for key personnel
  • Core LIMS validation services
  • Scientific and Technical Staffing Services to backfill laboratory staff so that your Core LIMS project does not disrupt operations.

Conclusion

Core LIMS provides a wide array of highly configurable functionality that allows customers to manage data across its full lifecycle in the 100% web- and cloud-based Platform for Science. The cloud-based nature of Core LIMS allows for complete scalability, multi-site support, and 24-hour and remote access. While the potential for this system to help increase productivity, efficiency and innovation in your laboratory environment is great, it is important to work with a quality laboratory informatics consultant who has the necessary experience and expertise with Core LIMS in order to realize its full potential.

About The Author

Iestyn Lewis is a Senior Solutions Architect for Astrix Technology Group in the Informatics Professional Services Practice. He works with scientists and other key project stakeholders with rigorous and complex needs, to deliver solutions tailored to the needs of the end user. Mr. Lewis has over 20 years of experience in scientific software product and project development and implementation. During his career, Mr. Lewis has delivered commercial products and custom informatics solutions to clients in academia, biotech, and large pharma.

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