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A laboratory information management system (LIMS) is a software system developed to support laboratory operations. This software system can track specimens and workflows, aggregate data for research or business intelligence purposes, and ensure laboratory operations are compliant with various standards and regulations.


Laboratory information management systems are also known as laboratory management systems (LMS).

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It is important to distinguish between a conventional laboratory information management system (LIMS), which is often used in the research laboratory, and something similar called a laboratory information system (LIS). Typically, the former is not primarily used in a health-care environment, whereas the latter is used to satisfy regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States and other rules that relate to the practices of medical providers. A LIS setup may also have more focus on specimen control and labeling of specimens with patient data.

By contrast, a LIMS is often the best software for dealing with the kinds of bulk data that a research laboratory operates on. For example, a LIMS can analyze masses of collected outcomes regarding the efficacy of a drug or chemical product, or screen repetitive tasks for daily operations. As mentioned, these tools can also analyze and support workflow, for example, by providing essential testing tools for every stage of the workflow process or by promoting the consistent use of chemicals and physical products in the laboratory for a kind of electronic quality control process.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…