Incentives to make laboratories efficient, accurate and wildly productive while lean, whether by need, choice or attrition, has been more prevalent this year than in years past. COVID-19 and the swarm of issues in its wake has spared no industry in no country. All laboratories have had to make some adjustments.
While there is no pretense that COVID is/was a favorable issue to face and learn from, lessons have been imposed upon all of us in the laboratory industry. Some lessons are impressed upon us whether we want them or not. So, what lessons can and are being learned through this COVID crisis?
One lesson sticks out above others. Modernization of a laboratory favors that laboratory’s survival and fitness. Laboratories with the most automation have the most autonomy, therefore success. Modernization provides the ability for these laboratories to run efficiently, provide accurate results and report them in a timely fashion even if hobbled by being short-staffed.
Instrumentation across all laboratory types offers far more automation than was available only a few short years ago. Current instruments almost universally offer the ability to integrate with LIMS in a bidirectional scheme. Modern LIMS offer a plethora of key features to further automate the laboratory whilst instilling quality control standards to all aspects of the laboratory’s operations.
Unanimously, the product of any laboratory is the report, no matter what format it takes. While many of us may remember the days of shuffling data into a reporting room where people tirelessly entered data into various report types, this is now done by a few clicks. Data is validated and reported in automated or semi-automated fashions via a LIMS, often to a web portal. Critical to current work from home mandates, this may be handled remotely ensuring productivity can be maintained while limiting the onsite staff as required.
Of all the hard-learned lessons from this year, ensuring modernization within the laboratory ensures the laboratory’s ability to provide accurate data in a timely fashion despite any hardships.