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Which is Better for Your Lab: LIS or LIMS?

LIS vs. LIMS – Which is Best?


Before determining whether an LIS or LIMS is better for your particular facility, you should know the differences between the two. Although they have similar names (Laboratory Information System and Laboratory Information Management System) and can be fairly easily confused, they offer significantly different functionality. Perhaps the biggest differentiater is that an LIS often functions better on an individual record basis, while an LIMS works better for groups of records that need to be processed at once. There is no “best” system when it comes to these lab interfaces; there’s only the system that’s better for your specific needs.

Now that you’re aware of this key difference between the LIS and LIMS, it’s time to start thinking about the needs of your lab, clinic, or hospital. Individual clinics and patient labs would certainly benefit from the more single test-or-record based setup of an LIS. If you’re a larger research facility that needs to run bigger batches of data rather than single input, an LIMS may be a better option for you. The trouble comes with trying to use an inappropriate system for your needs.

This is where a system intended for a larger facility with different needs (an LIMS) would not be the best choice for a smaller lab that needs tracking and accuracy with individual patient records. Attempting to use a batching program or multiple record system for tasks that require more delicacy will end up causing mistakes and misplacement. For small labs, clinical labs, veterinary clinics, hospitals, and other facilities that require more finesse in single-record handling, LIS software is the clear winner. LIMS systems are much better suited for organizations running research tests requiring the input of dozens or even hundreds of samples at the same time.

If your first priority is in patient care and eliminating potentially harmful mix-ups, look into LIS software. If you need to handle large amounts of data for research purposes, consider an LIMS.