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19 December 2023

How a LIMS enhances environmental monitoring

Jennifer Stearns

Principal Professional Services Consultant

Jennifer Stearns


After working at a lab for 10 years and implementing LIMS there, Jennifer joined HORIZON Lab Systems (now Clinisys) and has been implementing laboratory information management systems for the 12 years since. Jennifer really enjoys problem solving and helping Clinisys customers find the ideal solutions for their needs.

Communities around the world are requiring greater accountability and demanding more reliable and capable software systems for monitoring and testing drinking water, ground water, wastewater, soil, and air quality. Meeting these growing needs and continuing to deliver the active role that analytical testing laboratories play in safeguarding public health requires advanced tools that enhance every aspect of environmental monitoring.

The time for replacing poorly supported legacy laboratory informatics systems and manual, spreadsheet-based approaches is long overdue, and many laboratories are already benefiting from a laboratory information management system (LIMS). But not all LIMS are created equal, of course. The right solution brings with it a whole host of benefits which deliver fast, accurate results enabling environmental safeguards to be actioned quickly and effectively.

In this article, we look at some of the ways in which a modern, full-featured, data-centric LIMS can enhance environmental monitoring and help your environmental testing laboratory:

  • Meet local, state and federal regulations
  • Provide timely, actionable data
  • Improve workflows
  • Strengthen security
  • Provide insightful data analysis and reporting

A high-quality LIMS for environmental monitoring can optimise your workflows, sample management, system integration, instrument automation, and compliance and reporting. And, when deployed in the cloud, an environmental LIMS can increase your lab’s scalability, availability, security, and disaster recovery, all while decreasing the burdens on your limited IT resources. Increased operational performance in any or all these areas will allow your laboratory to better serve clients, ultimately better protecting the health and safety of people and the environments in which we live.

Increase responsiveness by streamlining workflows

By streamlining laboratory workflows, limited staffing resources can be allocated to the most necessary and critical tasks. This gives you greater bandwidth to focus on scientific activities rather than manual administrative functions and workarounds.

A new LIMS optimises laboratory workflows by automating routine tasks and eliminating manual procedures. Replace paper logbooks and notebooks, for example, with electronic chain of custody (CoC) records, online bench sheets, automated quality parameters, and digital signatures. Consistent and standardised protocols give you and your quality management team confidence in operational performance and predictable outcomes.

The sooner you can process samples and generate final analytical results, the sooner clients and authorities can correctly characterise health and safety issues and enact mitigation steps. With improved turnaround times for test results, your analytical laboratory can contribute to more timely environmental safeguards and action.

Improve sample data management with automation

Environmental monitoring and testing require meticulous data management to track, analyse, and report on various sources of environmental risk, whether it is discharge from a factory or naturally occurring contaminants in well water.

Such testing generates vast amounts of data from sample analysis, instrument readings, and environmental parameters, and the right LIMS becomes indispensable for you to ensure laboratory testing data integrity, accuracy, and security. Additionally, easy access to historical lab testing information lets you perform trend analyses and run analytics on any data captured in the LIMS.

Document in the LIMS traceability and chain of custody

Extensive sample management capabilities are essential to analytical testing and key to an effective LIMS. The LIMS functionality precisely tracks samples throughout the testing process, and includes an unbroken digital CoC, from collection to analysis and disposal. A well-designed LIMS monitors the location and status of each sample at a granular level, providing real-time visibility into work in-process and a critical tool for project management.

Moreover, proper sample management and strict validation rules preserve consistent sample integrity, ensuring that results are dependable, defensible, and well documented.

Leverage instrument and application integration

Integration of the LIMS with multiple data sources further enhances efficiency in the environmental monitoring process. A comprehensive LIMS seamlessly integrates with laboratory instruments as well as quality systems, accounting systems, and other enterprise business applications, enabling direct data transfer.

This integration provides a holistic information management infrastructure, eliminating manual data entry while significantly reducing the potential for errors. And by acquiring data in real-time, the LIMS facilitates immediate analysis and visualisation, empowering scientists and administrators to make timely and effective decisions.

Strengthen regulatory compliance

Disciplined data management and reporting are foundational elements for compliance with government regulations and standards. Clinisys Environmental Laboratory™, for example, incorporates relevant standards, guidelines, and protocols into workflows. Testing procedures, analytical methods, and data analysis automatically align with regulatory requirements. And a detailed audit trail consistently documents all activities and modifications for exacting traceability.

The LIMS empowers laboratories to deploy stringent quality control practices by managing quality control samples, calibrations, and method validation protocols. And by automating data validation processes, the LIMS proactively flags potential issues or deviations, and then ensures data integrity throughout the testing process.

Extend data analysis and reporting

As the central data repository, a LIMS assembles and distributes all the necessary operational and analytical reports to communicate adherence to environmental standards. This requires a strong connection to laboratory practices and a deep understanding of ever-changing regulatory requirements.

Critical data analysis must include standardised comprehensive report formats, customisation capabilities, and visualisation options that include specific industry standard quality system graphs and charts. These reports provide valuable insight into patterns and trends and aid in the interpretation and effective communication of environmental monitoring results to stakeholders, regulatory bodies, and the general public. The output informs the decision-making processes, helps identify potential sources of pollution, and contributes to the development of effective mitigation strategies.

Enhanced environmental monitoring

Laboratory information management systems (LIMS) are indispensable to the mission of environmental and water testing organizations. By providing features such as streamlined workflows, detailed sample tracking, unbroken chain of custody, stronger data management, and regulatory compliance tools, a modern and robust LIMS empowers laboratories to meet the rigorous requirements of environmental testing.

Realise the productivity and quality benefits of your new lab systems

Clinisys Environmental Laboratory can enhance your environmental monitoring and help you better serve your clients.

Based on decades of experience supporting testing laboratories in the environmental sector, the Clinisys LIMS delivers unprecedented configurability and interoperability and is designed to future-proof your lab by enabling end-to-end workflow automation, unlimited connectivity, interoperable data structures, complete quality control, and more. Clinisys Environmental Laboratory is one of a family of Clinisys Laboratory Solutions spanning seven distinct industries, including; environment and water, public health, and healthcare.

The Clinisys Platform™ is the foundation for all Clinisys Laboratory Solutions, offering the easy configurability, flexibility, and scalability advantages of a modern, software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud architecture and data model that replaces traditional lab management software. The Clinisys Platform provides cost-effective operations at any scale and across geographies, without the effort and expense of hardware maintenance, software upgrades, and other concerns, giving you the capabilities and flexibility you need to run efficient, compliant, and successful lab operations.

For more information on how we can help enhance your environmental monitoring,

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