Encouraging Digital Laboratory Management Solutions

A cloud-based platform enables researchers to effectively manage their laboratories.

The Scientist Creative Services Team in collaboration with Eppendorf
Jul 14, 2021

Data collection, documentation, and organization is an essential task in any laboratory. Paper-based documentation is common in most laboratories, and as the number of experiments, instruments, and collaborators increases, notetaking on paper becomes laborious.  

Laboratory equipment documentation is particularly difficult to maintain on paper because devices are multi-user and last for years. Lab instruments need proper records that are accessible and comprehensible to everyone on the team. An instrument logbook usually records the equipment condition, users, time of use, and remarks on machine performance for maintenance, service needs, or legal applications such as patents. Moreover, national and international regulatory authorities require periodic mandatory tests, calibrations, and analysis reports to authenticate the appropriate use of an instrument, where the failure to comply with the requirements could revoke user licenses. However, manual logbook entries are inadequate when it comes to the real-time performance of the equipment. For example, devices used for long-term experiments such as incubators and freezers require constant monitoring to identify whether the desired experimental conditions are met. Unpredictable equipment failure or human error can destroy precious samples, especially if problems arise during off-work hours. Collectively, equipment management in laboratories is instrumental for increased productivity and cost-effectiveness.

Digital management solutions are gaining popularity in laboratories worldwide because they offer several advantages over traditional logbook records. First, these solutions save time compared to manually documenting and tracking equipment data. Furthermore, these platforms provide increased flexibility, scalability, and security to handle large amounts of information collected in real time, and many cloud computing solutions, developed in compliance with regulatory authorities, organize data at a high standard. Lastly, digital clouds collect and transfer data over a wireless connection without the need for additional hardware, software, or human intervention, allowing remote access to laboratory equipment.

VisioNize® Lab Suite provides a cloud-based digital solution to research laboratories in academia and industry to effectively manage equipment with sample security and compliance needs. The platform is available via a subscription-based model, allowing researchers to choose instruments that need constant monitoring and add required services. For example, users can monitor chosen devices remotely from anywhere and receive customizable alert notifications in case of operational malfunctions. Furthermore, users can set up reminders for routine maintenance tasks and software update services for any touch-enabled instrument. The system also permits researchers to monitor their experiments in real time in connected equipment, such as incubators, and remotely download data from instruments, such as endpoint PCR thermocyclers, once an experiment is complete. Lastly, laboratory managers can easily turn digital records into detailed device performance audit logs for regulatory bodies, eliminating tedious audit preparations. Ultimately, the VisioNize Suite provides a universal laboratory digitization solution to researchers for monitoring instruments from pipettes to freezers irrespective of their manufacturer and minimizes unintended instrument downtime.