We helped our partner, ChemWare, save their clients untold hours spent recording, tracking and accessing lab sample results with the latest mobile technology. Their HORIZON® Logbook Manager allows laboratories to replace manual paper entry with a mobile tablet solution, reducing costs and boosting operational efficiencies.
ChemWare’s HORIZON LIMS enterprise solution enables health and environmental laboratories to process and track samples through their laboratory workflow. ChemWare wanted to complement its enterprise solution with an electronic logbook to eliminate the dual entry created from using paper to process samples and meet regulatory compliance.
With paper logbooks, it was difficult for labs to log, record, track and report all the data needed to be recorded in each specific paper logbook. The entire sampling and recording process was cumbersome, time consuming and prone to errors—plus the binders were costly to produce and a pain to store and share between users.
Tracking data in myriad physical logbooks and worksheets also made data audits difficult and time-intensive to manage.
Savings on data entry labor alone are estimated at about 1 FTE/year for a typical 50-person laboratory.
The scope for this project was to develop an electronic logbook system that mimicked a lab’s paper process and share data with their laboratory management system, boosting efficiencies by eliminating duplicate data entry while minimizing mistakes.
Onsite user testing was essential to user success for the mobile application, too. To best understand a lab’s workflow and technician needs, we worked with a lab to test prototype iterations for early feedback, allowing us to make changes based on that insight during each development stage.
The HORIZON Logbook Manager also needed to be flexible. Over time, the information a lab needs to capture may change. The mobile solution allows a lab technician to customize the format of logbooks and worksheets. The manual process was a real headache to manage, but the mobile version makes it fast and easy to add information or update worksheet configurations as the lab’s needs change.
The mobile solution also promotes data accuracy. By validating the parameters each set of data needs, if a lab tech enters a value that falls outside of set values, the system illuminates it immediately. This ensures data accuracy at the point of data entry, an invaluable quality assurance feature.
Return on investment
This was a fun project for us, as the goal of the project aligned with one of our core values, organizational efficiency. Going from a manual to paperless process was also a necessary solution for ChemWare to offer its clients, as the benefits are numerous.
By eliminating the need for physical notebooks, a lab eliminates sizeable material costs and the need for long-term paper storage. There’s also no more worrying about security and quality assurance issues, and lost or damaged notebooks. Dual data entry is eliminated, processes are streamlined and fast data traceability means it’s easy to show how data is related, simplifying legal and regulatory audits.
The mobile logbook solution is a valuable standalone solution, but it’s even more powerful when data is shared with an enterprise system. With the ability to export data from the mobile logbook, a lab can import data into a variety of systems and deliver results faster. Overall, the mobile logbook solution offers ChemWare clients’ a total solution to maximize lab efficiencies and data sharing capabilities.