Managing data is a crucial aspect of any laboratory of the modern age, regardless of its nature and type of activity. The Logilab Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) is a key part of this data management process in a laboratory, particularly pertaining to controlled data capture. But how exactly does the software solution developed by Agaram Technologies achieve this functionality? And why is it important that laboratories should ensure controlled data capture in the first place? Our article today discusses this and much more.
How Logilab ELN works for controlled data capture
Data exists in two conventional formats, namely unstructured and structured. Logilab ELN comes in handy for the latter scenario i.e. for structured data capture. This becomes possible due to a simple and intuitive user interface that has similar functionality to Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Labs usually have excellent familiarity with spreadsheets already, with several of them maintaining their structured data such as test sheets, SOPs and lab checklists in this format. Therefore they can easily transition their workflow into Logilab ELN by importing their existing spreadsheets. The possibility of designing templates is directly in the application is also possible, without a steep learning curve to worry about. Moreover, this new UI comes out on top in many ways, most notably because of its drag & drop functionality for data fields.
Logilab ELN’s excel-type templates are known as Labsheets. With immense data field customization features, the software offers diverse data capture functionality across a huge breadth of industry verticals.
Designing your own lab sheet begins with entering predefined ‘fields’ into the cells wherever the researcher or lab analyst is supposed to enter data. Each field has a different function and acts as a guide and validation to what data is to be entered in the cell. During data entry, the data enterer is restricted to only entering the appropriate data in the mentioned fields, reducing the likelihood of errors.
Laboratory personnel can rework data fields as required for their operations. This way they can configure, generic fields and also add customised data fields according to the requirements of the task or experiment at hand. More specifically, lab staff can specify a variety of data field formats, including but not limited to:
- Drop-down lists
- Numeric and much more
Logilab ELN offers an Instrument integration option for controlled instrument data capture
In most laboratories, the instruments are the primary source of data. If they are not maintained properly and accurately captured, they can breach regulatory requirements, increase data management costs, and generally make workflows inefficient while jeopardizing data accuracy.
Logilab ELN is part of a larger ecosystem of lab data automation solutions that Agaram Technologies provides. In combination with the Logilab Scientific Database Management System (SDMS) which acts as a single source of truth for all instrument data. Logilab ELN can also play a part in achieving controlled data capture for instruments as well.
Users can redesign the ELN template or Labsheet to include instrument data fields. These data fields can be automatically populated with output from various instruments.
Logilab ELN is packed with features for controlled data access
Compliance with Data integrity principles and regulatory requirements such as 21 CFR Part 11 is important for laboratories. But beyond compliance, it’s important to ensure regulated access to this data to guarantee both security and accountability.
Some of the critical features provided to ensure controlled data access include:
- Version & Release controls
- Auto lock of user accounts
- Password policy configuration
- Configurable user group rights and role-based access and privileges
- Activity Directory integration
Moreover, Logilab ELN’s audit trail feature and encyclopedic tracking also further add a new layer of control and troubleshooting. Besides captured data, personnel can add comments to explain the data while further relying on release and version controls to pick apart and validate these templates or versions of them.
The benefits of Logilab ELN for controlled data capture
1) Excellent searchability
With the capability to comprehensive search criteria, Logilab ELN makes it a lot easier for laboratories to achieve better organization and stay functional. Referring to traditional hard-copy laboratory notebooks a hectic task to find data from experiments done months ago. With Logilab ELN, however, the task of page-by-page searches can be avoided
Instead, users can look up past experiments and unearth any data necessary for new projects in a matter of seconds from these electronic Labsheets.
2) Fool-proof security
Unlike traditional paper notebooks which may easily be lost, damaged, or stolen, Logilab ELN’s Labsheets are stored and archived in the cloud which can additionally be safeguarded by password protection, among other measures, to ensure flawless security and accessibility of captured data.
3) Automated data capture
Human error can taint the integrity of captured data, with statistics depicting the probability of data entry errors at between 18 and 40%. However, the margin of error is reduced tremendously with Logilab ELN, thanks to automated data capture functionalities. These ensure better accuracy as well as lower data remediation efforts on the part of laboratory personnel. Human error is reduced by eliminating the need to transcribe data manually to transfer data from paper to electronic formats
4) Version and Release Control
Lab sheets have auto-versioning of all modifications made to existing data with full traceability. The exact cells in which the changes were made between two versions of a file can be clearly identified.
Apart from this, labs can set custom review and approval workflows once data has been captured, to check for errors or discrepancies, and send back the work for a retest if required. This feature is crucial in helping them maintain the highest level of data integrity and accuracy.
For highly regulated non-GMP and cGMP environments, Logilab ELN is a must-have solution. It can be easily hosted on a cloud environment on a browser-based editor, thus simplifying collaborative data capture and general teamwork beyond geographical limitations. Moreover, it contains important data reporting, visualization, and integration features to ensure an all-around solution tackling key challenges for laboratories. You can consider Logilab ELN as a cost-effective solution which can be tried as a free 2-week trial. Schedule your demo now and digitise your lab records today!