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How Your Lab Can Represent Workflows Effectively

Day-to-day lab operations rely on workflows to manage people, tasks, and systems so that work follows a consistent process every time. Defined workflows help ensure that all the steps are done in the correct order, are free from errors, and meet regulatory requirements. But, representing lab workflows can be difficult. Without careful definition, you might introduce inaccuracies — such as […]

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Current Challenges, Needs, and Solutions for Molecular Diagnostics Labs

The Bio-IT World Conference & Expo in Boston is a fantastic opportunity to learn about the latest research and how it can be brought into clinical practice to improve people’s everyday lives. Every time I attend this conference, I’m excited by the potential for applying scientific discoveries at scale. This year, the conference was the first many of us have […]

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Four Things to Think About When Writing Lab Software Requirements

If you’re building custom lab software or a new integration, the first thing you need to do is gather a list of requirements. In our work with clinical NGS labs, we start every engagement with an assessment of the current state and gap analysis. It’s our role to help lab staff translate their knowledge of the lab and its processes […]

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Have You Ever Considered Your Lab as a Logistics Supply Chain?

Sometimes, when you’re trying to come up with a better way to solve a challenge, it can help to step back and consider the situation from a new vantage point. We did this when we were building our new product — Labbit — an intelligent laboratory information management system (LIMS) designed with lab operations as the focus. We asked ourselves: […]

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Barcodes in the Lab: How to Maximize Efficiency and Reduce Errors

Barcoding is extremely useful in a lab environment. It lets you quickly and automatically identify and track items like samples, plates, and reagents. But implementing a lab barcode system is not as simple as charging up a scanner and getting to work. To be effective, the scanning solution should be integrated with your laboratory information management system (LIMS). That means […]

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Complex Lab Software: How to Best Manage it With Version Control

On the Semaphore Solutions blog, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of a lab’s software stack and strategies for managing multiple software components — some you’ve bought off-the-shelf, some that are fully custom, and some with varying degrees of customization. But one thing we haven’t dug into is version control. This is a key part of managing any complex […]

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How a Regulated Lab Ended Up Owning the Code of a Commercial LIMS

A surprising number of labs today still use pen and paper to manage lab samples, analysis, and reporting. But for forward-looking labs, a laboratory information management system (LIMS) offers a way to work more effectively through standardized workflows, tests, and procedures. That was the conclusion reached by the shareholders of an environmental contract lab. Recognizing that if they continued to […]

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Addressing Molecular Diagnostic LIS Functionality Gaps: A JMD Response

In a 2018 article in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics (JMD), the authors — Charles Myers, Matthew Swadley, and Alexis Carter — identified key gaps in functionality in laboratory information systems (LIS) for molecular labs. To continue the conversation, we collaborated with the Cleveland Clinic’s Molecular Pathology Section lab team on a response. In our article published on the JMD […]

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What Do We Mean By Software Development Best Practices at Semaphore?

Building custom laboratory software from the ground up requires robust planning and meticulous attention to detail. In the process of doing this for our clients and ourselves on our forthcoming product, we have developed our own software development best practices to ensure the implementation meets all the requirements. We’ve found this to be a magic mix — user and regulatory […]

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Build vs. Buy: Which is the Right Informatics Strategy for Your Lab?

Are you trying to decide if your lab should build its own custom software, buy off-the-shelf software (knowing you’ll inevitably have to customize it), or just keep stumbling along with Excel and paper-based tracking? The answer to this question will ultimately depend on your short- and long-term information system (informatics) strategy. How do you devise an informatics strategy? There are […]

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