Too often, folks speak about lab digitalisation as a one-time task.
You do it. It’s done. And it’s off your plate.
On to the next task, right?
The reality is that digitalisation is more than that: It’s a process, a journey of many steps, big and small. The goal is not to reach a final destination that reads, “Your Lab is Digitalised.”
The goal is to take the path of continuous improvement over time, where you’re looking for opportunities to streamline your lab’s operations further.
How many of you started the year with a New Year’s Resolution to exercise more? And how long did it take for you to abandon it? A month? A week? A day?
Getting up and going for a jog one morning might technically make you a runner, but that’s not really the goal of your resolution. Even completing your first 5k isn’t really the goal. On your way to completing your first 5k, you may be seeing the benefits and feeling more motivated to exercise. That’s the goal, isn’t it? To feel better about yourself? To be habitually healthy? To be active?
To improve yourself!
Sure, you can hang the success or failure of a goal on a discrete endpoint, but don’t let it cloud the significance of the journey you took to get there or stand in the way of long-term fitness.
But this isn’t a blog post about running, so let’s get back on track and away from analogies (for now…).
Digitalising your lab is just like your intent to exercise: It only happens when you accept the process and make it habitual. It’s a habit you form and maintain through incremental improvement over time.
If sample tracking is your primary area of focused improvement and you’re still keeping track using paper records, then try transitioning to a digital system, like an Excel file or Google Sheet, as a first step.
Once you’ve done that, don’t stop! A digital spreadsheet is better than paper but still has significant drawbacks. Find a GxP-compliant online sample management platform that offers barcode integration and a collaborative interface.
Boom! You just ran a 10k.
What if your lab notebooks are the current source of your stress? Switch from paper notebooks to digital documentation like OneNote or Google Docs.
Just like in our first examples, that’s better but still has a few drawbacks. Once you’re comfortable with this digital step forward, keep improving. Next, find a cloud-based electronic lab notebook (ELN) that offers encryption, backups, and 21 CFR part 11 compliance.
“But Jim,” you say, “isn’t this blog supposed to be about data integration?”
And anyone who’s stuck with our New Year’s resolution analogy might grasp this next step: Once you’ve done a 5k, you may find yourself taking the next step in living an active lifestyle.
Maybe you head to the pool to swim laps, pick up a road bike at a yard sale, or start working with a personal trainer. What was, until this point, just running is now an integrated habit of fitness. You are pulling multiple pieces of the exercise puzzle together for the larger goal of whole-body fitness.
Scientists should take the same outlook with lab digitalisation. Pull all of your digital solutions together so that all of your data and information is integrated. Together, this will help you work towards your goal of whole-lab digital fitness.
Make sure the pieces all work together. Running, swimming, and biking are great on their own. But when you put them together, you can compete in an Iron Man. This is your goal with an integrated lab digitalisation process. Have all the pieces in place, but also ensure they all work together in a complementary way.
Be an Iron Man of your lab’s digital journey.
A platform such as eLabJournal gives you that integration. All the digital pieces of your lab work together in concert to accelerate your efficiency gains.
So what comes after that? How are you going to continue to push the boundaries of fitness and lab digitalisation tomorrow?
If we’re talking about the digital lab, it’s artificial intelligence or “lab of things” (LoT) instrument integration. The specifics don’t matter. If you have built a solid and integrated foundation, you’re ready for new challenges. You don’t start back on the couch when trying a new sport. You integrate that activity into your fitness routine faster and at a higher level of performance.
eLabJournal is an excellent example of this in the digital lab space. The open development tools (API & SDK) and Marketplace allow the platform to grow with you and meet every future need. You don’t buy new, separate software (start back on the couch). Your digital platform grows and expands to integrate new technology with ease.
Get a personal demo today and see how eLabNext and our lab digitalisation experts can help you navigate the journey to full lab digitalisation, data integration, and more.
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