Why You Need to Invest in a Lab Notebook and How You Can Pick the Best One for Your Team

Why You Need to Invest in a Lab Notebook and How You Can Pick the Best One for Your Team?

If you are a professional working in the health industry, you know how time consuming and mentally draining it can be to manage the data you handle. In this article, we’re going to help you find the best lab notebook you can get your hands on so that you can make your life a whole lot easier.

A Growing Concern

Recent information proves that there is a constantly growing need for data management solutions within the realms of a clinical lab. As technology advances and the demand for precision medicine skyrockets, there is a more urgent need to implement technology in the management of data. Official board requirements stipulate that laboratories move away from paper-based systems toward electronic solutions as they prove to be superior in many advantageous areas. As the amount of data also increases in volume, there is a growing need for automated systems that can integrate with the technology already in use in the lab.

Lab notebooks are not a new idea, but their power, security and reliability have progressed dramatically in recent years. When you’re looking to invest in an option for your healthcare team, it can feel like an overwhelming responsibility as the options really are endless. You may be concerned that it’s an unnecessary expenditure of your time and effort, as well as your budget.

So, what are the advantages that come from implementing an electronic lab notebook in the healthcare industry?

4 Advantages of an Electronic Lab Notebook

An electronic lab notebook, or ELN, replaces the traditional paper lab notebooks with the modern equivalent. These are growing in popularity over recent years as more firms make the switch from paper to electronic in all areas of their corporation. If the company is a large one, with multiple researchers and other professionals needing to document their many experiments, an electronic lab notebook is an invaluable asset in managing and storing that wealth of data and information.

Let’s look at four big advantages of using an electronic lab notebook.

  1. It’s easier to manage data. The healthcare industry has struggled particularly to find ways to manage all the data they deal with. Many corporations are cobbling together multiple software solutions and systems to get the right electronic infrastructure that they need. This leads to a plethora of problems and is proving to be a very inefficient way of dealing with the data. With the help of electronic lab notebooks, clinical labs can simplify their procedures by utilizing a centralised system that stores all the data securely in one place, in the safety of the cloud. With this in place, members of the time can access, save, and retrieve data at any time, on any device,
  2. It’s easier to work together. Without any stress or too much work, anyone in the clinic can have access to the information they need, whenever they need it. The data is constantly updated and uploaded so the information is always relevant and accurate. This is a great benefit for physicians who see many different patients every day and need to find the relevant patient information quickly.
  3. It’s harder to make mistakes. As discussed, a mash-up of several different systems is not ideal and often leads to errors in clinical documentation. Due to the multiple methods of entering and uploading data, there’s more likely to be human error and there’s no way of cross-referencing the data to check for discrepancies. Electronic lab notebooks simplify this whole process and remove the chances the making a mistake. Everyone can access and verify any upload and data can be easily checked, edited, and processed.
  4. It’s harder to lose the data. The misuse or loss of important data is of great concern to many labs and those who work in them. When using software, it can be a challenge to find a reliable platform that you can trust with the amount of confidential information that it will need to manage. Electronic lab notebooks on the other hand have very secure privacy policies so they are a great option for labs in the healthcare industry. Important data will be hard to delete in the first place and easy to restore if lost. You will also be confident knowing that the control of the data is still in your hands, and you don’t need to work about the information being misused or stolen. This doesn’t come as a given with all electronic lab notebooks, so you will need to invest in one that promises complete protection and security for you as the user.

So, now you know that you need one, how are you going to pick one?

How to Choose the Right Electronic Lab Notebook For You

There are two types of electronic lab notebooks available for use: specific ELNS or generic ELNS. Specific ELNs are for a more niche market and are designed to work with specific instruments, data types or applications. Generic ELNs, also known as cross-disciplinary ELNS, are designed to be more general and broader in their application as they have the ability to access all data and information that would need to be recorded in a lab notebook.

There are also many forms of ELN, and you will need to choose one that suits your team. You could have a standalone program, be entirely web-based, or use a client-server model.

Keep in mind the specifics of your research, the size of your team and the kind of data you need to record. Remember that a good electronic lab notebook needs to be a secure place for your data but also easy to use and integrate. Find an option that can be adapted, that can grow or reduce in size according to the development of your research. Research is not a stranger to you, so use what you know to investigate the different options out there. It might take some time and effort, but you’ll save just that in long run.