July 05, 2021
Integrating Laboratory Instruments
Water Technical Services Laboratory, Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) Bahrain is responsible to ensure the quality of potable water being supplied to their customers.They conduct a range of routine quality control tests to determine the suitability of water for human consumption. These tests are defined to ensure the quality of water supplied meets the international standards. These standards are updated periodically in the form of regulations based on evolving needs of customers. Today testing laboratories face challenges like stringent regulatory compliances, numerous laboratory accreditation’s those are to be acquired to be competitive, gain efficiencies in managing operational expenditure. In a dynamic regulatory landscape one of the most pressing challenges is to efficiently manage documentationof procedures / processes, so the reported results are reliable and not challenged for authenticity. These changes will occur not only in terms of reporting, but also in terms of the ability to integrate new instrumentation,calculations, screens and future software.
While selecting a reliable LIMS solution provider, it is important to have a detailed understanding of current and future requirements of the laboratory, enabling the selectionof a technology provider who can meet both present and evolving needs of a laboratory in a longer term. Managing a LIMS platform also means to have a technically aware support team in-house to handle any emergency support requests while depending on the vendor to support the same either remotely or in person when needed. This means additional costs post implementing the project, besides these complications keeping track of the licensing of various other software employed in the project by the vendor.
Water Technical Services Laboratory - Electricity and Water Authority enlisted the following requirements for its current laboratory workflow Sample management, Dashboards, Quality Management and Asset management. Features like Barcode generation, Instrument integration, and Workflow management help increase productivity and efficiency.
Based on above considerations, Water Technical Services Laboratory - Electricity and Water Authority selected Revol LIMS to be a Cloud deployment in their internal serversbecause it is Quick to Deploy (reduced on building infrastructure, investment and maintenance expenditure), Easy to Adapt(Intuitive GUI based solution is easy to use right out of the box with flexibility to tailor in specific requirements of their lab and also scalable) and Safe to Use (The cloud servers are managed and protected from security threats by Revol Process Solutions Private Limited, India the solution provider).
Revol LIMS hosted on their internal Cloud offered EWA the ability to track samples, data entry capabilities, sample scheduling functions, QA/QC, electronic data entry, chemical and reagent inventory and personnel and equipment management. The scope of this document is to explain the process of deploying RevolLIMS on Cloud, flow-charting through software installation, instrument integration and full automation. The key features implemented includeLaboratory Workflow, Sample Management, Sample Scheduler, Inventory Management, Test Management, Reporting, SQC / SPC, Audit Management, Complete Audit Trail (Checksum, E-Signature)etc.,
Through this project EWA implemented LIMS as its data management solution in Water Technical Services Laboratory to combat some of these challenges mentioned earlier and alsoincrease efficiency of overall operations in the laboratory.
With high impetus on sustainability from EWA and regulatory needs, it was imperative for Water Technical Services Laboratory to look at their operations and see where they could improve on operational efficiencies and accountability.Being a laboratory that receives a high number of samples both from their routine operations and customer requests; they realized that a data management mechanism needed to be put in place to manage the volume of data these samples generate. EWA decided upon deploying a LIMS to help them address this Data Management challenge, butselecting a LIMSrequires a solid understanding of what tasks are currently performed by the laboratory presently and tasks the laboratory may want to perform in the future. With the changing regulatory demands a level of awareness of the laboratory workflows is of high importance, a data management system thus deployed should also offer flexibility to fit in with dynamic laboratory best practices. In this report we describe in detail the LIMS evaluation to deployment journey of RevolLIMS on Cloud as well as the outcomes of automation at EWA, Bahrain.
In project of this prominence, Electricity and Water Authority of Bahrain developed a detailed Request for Proposal (RFP), which besides listing out their operational requirements as specifications also sought a deep understanding of the vendor about the company, support capabilities, industry experience and customer references. The specifications in the RFP included a detailed description of the functionalities of the various modules in the LIMS. The RFP began with questions on Sample Tracking, QA/QC, Electronic Data Transfer Mechanisms, Chemical and Reagent Inventory, and Personnel and Equipment Management. Other key elements of the RFP included requests for information on statistical capabilities, data loggers to upload data to the LIMS, sample barcoding, instrument integration, and customizability in terms of report creation, workflow development etc., followed by questions relating the expertise of the LIMS provider, their certifications and the personnel responsible for the installation and implementation.
Revol Process Solutions team from India had provided a detailed online demonstration into their platform capabilities, to the personnel involved inlaboratory management andtechnical crew; after which Team EWA gained a thorough insight of RevolLIMS. The outcome of this exercise resulted in EWA team determiningthat RevolLIMS suited their requirements. Water Technical Services Laboratory, EWA selected RevolLIMS to be deployed in their Cloudby Revol Process Solutions Pvt. Ltd., as their Laboratory Information Management Solution.
After Revol LIMS was selected the next step was to understand the information flow in terms of samples journey in the water technical services laboratory from the point of collection to reporting / publishing the results. The flow chart below depicts the typical sample workflow prior to the installation of Revol LIMS.
The technical crew EWA – Water Technical Services Laboratory proposed several goals/objectives to improve the current sample workflow to improve productivity in the lab. The laboratory management wanted to eliminate transcription errors, increase automation, maintain data accuracy and while also improvingabilities of the lab to improve its experiment throughput.
The Revol LIMS solution was implemented in following phases:
The recommended Hardware and Software to enable smooth implementation of the LIMS project based the requirement gathering exercise the team completed in the earlier step were acquired, inspected and installed at a pre-designated location at EWA.
In this phase focus was to configure and installRevolLIMS on the Server. Output files were collected from instruments that were to be integrated with the LIMS.During the installation, both the teams from Revol and EWAhad daily meetings on lines of scrum with to review tasks for each day and to ensure that the appropriate personnel would be available for certain tasks, e.g., IT personnel were required to provide network access during installation.
The focus of the second phase was instrument integration. A total of eight instruments were interfaced with Revol LIMS. The details are described in the table below. The benefits of instrument integration included the following: a reduction in transcription errors, increase in automation, increase in data accuracy and increased throughput. These results confirmed with EWA – Water Technical Services Laboratory’s primary goal.
Reporting is a vital part of a LIMS, as it allows users to gain a clearer picture of collected data and potential trends. Prior to pre-configured report styles Revol LIMS offers customized test reports and Certificate of Analysis which makes the laboratory function flexible. Approximately, thirty custom reports have developed for EWA – Water Technical Services Laboratory based on their sample processing workflows and requirements.
VERIFICATION TESTING AND TRAINING
In the last phase, the implementation is tested by the defined set of tasks and capabilities and training is delivered to the EWA team. During verification, the LIMS trainers and laboratory personnel reviewed the features and functions of the system, utilizing a checklist to ensure that all the components of the installation were in place and operating accordingly. The purpose of this was to demonstrate performance and functionality of the system.
Next, the database administrators and end-users were trained. User manuals and administrator guides were provided for comprehensive training. This training included all equipment and materials that would be necessary in the operation use and maintenance of Revol LIMS.
Users were also invited to participate in follow-up training courses offered by the LIMS vendor and to attend user group meetings to continually learn about new features and keep ahead of the latest technology developments.
FINAL ACCEPTANCE TESTING
The project was successfully implemented within a short period of 4 months as defined during the requirement gathering phase. During this period the end users started to become familiar with Revol LIMS, since as it was a change from the previous manual processes. At the end of February 2022, evaluating team at EWA, Bahrain completed the final acceptance-testing phase of the project and released the sign off on the LIMS implementation project. EWA has already started experiencing the benefits delivered by automating their laboratory operations via implementation of RevolLIMS.
The selection and installation of Revol LIMS has resulted in many data management and automation improvements in the Water Technical Services Laboratory, EWA laboratory environment. They can now establish a full chain of custody, audit trail and many quality control enhancements that assist the laboratory in its day-to-day data management challenges with ease. By limiting users to tests and methods on pull-down lists, instrument integration, and requesting that users log onto the system with user name and password, there is a higher degree of data integrity.
Prior to Revol LIMS, entry of VOC data (15+ parameters per sample) would take hours. Since instrument integration, data entry has been reduced to review of the data and importing it into the LIMS, a process that has saved a total of five hours per week in analyst time. Analysts time once spent entering data can now be devoted to other tasks such as new method development.
Prior to implementation of Revol LIMS, reports were generated on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. Revol LIMS has been setup for automatic report generation so that reports are automatically printed once the laboratory manager has approved sample results. The turnaround time of reports has been greatly decreased from 10 hours per week to approximately 4-5 hours per week.
While implementing Revol LIMS we also ensured laboratory data is secure by setting up Two-factor authentication (2FA) which makes it harder for external attackers to gain access. While internally only Role Based Access to information ensuring only relevant information to specific personnel thus enhancing Data integrity.
Implementation of the Revol LIMS has increased the efficiency of the laboratory. Data are readily available to view and approve.
Instrument integration has significantly reduced the amount of time analysts devote to data entry and eliminated transcription errors caused due to manual intervention.
Data loggers have reduced the amount of time required to log in remote samples to the laboratory. Quality control records are readily available for laboratory and auditor review. And finally, the generation of control charts, once a laborious process, can now be completed in seconds.
In summary, the implementation of the Revol Laboratory Information Management System has provided the Electricity and Water Authority Bahrain a 360o laboratory data management solution that promotes data accessibility, increased efficiency and time savings that will continue to lower laboratory costs and enhance the credibility of the organization.