Laboratories are crucial facilities not only for carrying out experiments and helping diagnose diseases but also for the progress of scientific knowledge in general. However, the complex nature of laboratory work makes these facilities prone to several problems. Common issues with laboratory operations include poor equipment management, inefficient workflows, and staff shortages.
To deal with these problems and ensure smooth, efficient operations, laboratories across the country rely on tools such as laboratory software and laboratory information management software. To this end, one study found that 47% of laboratories used one or two of these tools across the enterprise (Astrix, 2020).
This article lists 20 of the best laboratory software today, providing an overview and a list of key features of each product. Hopefully, this guide can help laboratory administrators and staff figure out which laboratory management platform can best meet their needs.
Laboratories are essential facilities for the scientific and academic community. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of laboratories in research and public health. In the United States alone, for instance, clinical and diagnostic laboratories have performed more than 900 million COVID-19 tests as of June 2022 (Our World in Data, 2022).
Of course, not all laboratories in the U.S. perform clinical or diagnostic functions. Recent industry research has found that there are 260,000 laboratories in the country, and this figure likely includes research and university labs and national laboratories run by the U.S. Department of Energy.
While recent data on non-clinical laboratories appear to be scarce, figures on medical laboratories indicate an upward trend in revenue until 2024.
Source: Statista Research Department
Despite the important roles of laboratories and the industry’s projected revenue growth, laboratory management is not without its challenges. For instance, one study by Qian et al. (2022) found that laboratories in colleges and universities often face issues such as low operation efficiency, inadequate inspection of equipment, and poor design and layout.
Perhaps a more pressing issue is the worsening staffing shortage reported by medical laboratories in the U.S. According to lab workers, low staffing numbers are a result of the pandemic, though others report that laboratory technicians and specialists have already been in short supply for over two decades before the COVID-19 outbreak (Rohde, 2022).
To keep up with the increased demands for lab work due to factors like population aging and the continued spread of COVID-19 and its variants, demand for laboratory workers remains high. The 2021 Survey of Temporary Allied Healthcare Professional Staff Trends indicates that many healthcare facilities in the country today seek laboratory technologists to supplement their existing staff.
Source: AMN Healthcare
Unfortunately, the demand for medical laboratory technologists and other laboratory professionals is only expected to grow in the next decade. The most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that employment for clinical laboratory technicians and technologists is expected to grow by 11% until 2030, faster than the average employment growth for all occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022).
With this data, healthcare market experts expect the high demand for laboratory technologists to outlast the pandemic.
To cope with the challenges of lab management and the demands of running an efficient laboratory, many laboratory managers and administrators depend on the best laboratory software. Laboratory software is a broad suite of products that typically include laboratory information systems (LIS) and laboratory information management systems (LIMS).
Though both tools are widely used in labs today, there are some differences between an LIS and an LIMS. While LIS are typically used in clinical settings for processing data related to individual patients, LIMS are used in group-centric settings and process data related to batches of samples (Laboratory Information System, n.d.).
Despite their different functions, both types of lab software bring benefits to laboratory workers. For instance, one study reveals that over 80% of laboratory workers think that a LIS improves overall laboratory services. Likewise, 61% of LIMS users cite the elimination of manual processes as the most significant benefit of using the tool (Astrix, 2020).
Source: Surveying the influence of laboratory information system: An end-user perspective
CGM LABDAQ is a laboratory management software designed for a wide variety of laboratories, including reference laboratories, hospitals, veterinary offices, and physician offices. The software streamlines workflows and improves profitability, ensuring lab tests are billed correctly and eliminating the need for manual data entry. The platform also seamlessly connects with EHR and practice management software, ensuring easier use and improved patient care.
LabOS is a cloud-based LIS that uses AI-supported decision-making logic to enable customized, automated workflows for data tracking. To improve patient care and ensure easy access, the platform also collects patient results into one consolidated report across all lab disciplines. Interested users can also choose among additional modules for mobile use, patient access to lab results, and physician portals. Additionally, the platform bears the key functionalities of billing and invoice software with its billing module.
A product of Azenta Life Sciences, LimitLIS is a cloud-based laboratory informatics solution that helps labs automate workloads for sample processing. The software also uses standardized processes to optimize staff workloads, ensuring utmost productivity for labs. For added efficiency, the platform also comes with modules for managing clinical trials, organizing client information, and managing sample storage sites.
Dendi LIS comes with an extensive set of features to help laboratories scale operations. The software was designed with user experience in mind, so users can expect an intuitive interface for features like the integrated provider portal and patient portal. The platform also comes with built-in analytics to help laboratory managers and administrators gain insights into data and make data-driven decisions.
LIS 365 is designed to help maintain the productivity and efficiency of different laboratory environments. The platform comes with rules-based technology to streamline workflows, while an interface monitoring tool provides user alerts to ensure everything is working as intended. A built-in dashboard also helps users monitor laboratory performance metrics, along with automatic quality control analysis and flagging according to defined fail parameters
Now a part of IBM Watson Health, Merge RIS is a radiology system designed to efficiently store and distribute patients’ radiology information. This radiology information system also helps improve profitability through automated tools for lung screening and appointment scheduling. With these features, laboratories and imaging centers can find new revenue streams, maintain existing relationships with physicians, and improve resource utilization.
CDD Vault is a LIS designed with a focus on science, particularly biology and chemistry. The platform makes it easy to organize assay data and ensures easy, secure collaboration with internal or external partners. Through the software, users can also customize reports and collate all data of interest into a single table for easier data exports. Moreover, the platform works as an electronic lab notebook that makes notes and annotations easier to share.
Thermo Fisher SampleManager LIMS offers a comprehensive set of features for managing laboratory operations, streamlining data and procedural workflows, and managing instruments and equipment. Through the software, users can configure automated workflows to match their unique laboratory processes. With built-in analytics solutions, the software also provides valuable insights into laboratory operations, including resource availability and stock information.
LigoLab LIS is designed to ensure efficient day-to-day operations for any lab. The system is scalable, supporting groups of up to 100 pathologists at multiple sites and locations. The platform also supports automation for routine workflows like data tracking, testing, and reporting, freeing up laboratory technicians’ time for more important tasks.
Clustermarket helps scientists focus on making breakthroughs rather than routine lab management tasks. The software handles user management and equipment booking by letting users set their own rules and protocols for these workflows. The software also serves as a centralized communication platform to ensure all users receive important announcements and notes. Moreover, the platform provides utilization reporting and analysis to help lab managers track equipment utilization and income.
Avalon LIS comes with specialized modules to help laboratory technicians and managers organize workflows for testing, quality control, and billing. Through the system, test orders are routed directly to laboratory instruments once entered, ensuring improved accuracy. One of the platform’s most useful features is that it seamlessly connects lab data with EMR systems, making it easier to access and transfer patient data when needed.
ClinLab LIS is a state-of-the-art LIS designed by medical technologists. The software is designed to be a scalable solution for labs of all sizes and disciplines. The platform serves as a secure data warehouse for lab results and provides a complete set of quality control and security tools. Moreover, this LIS improves workflows for sample management and data access.
FindMolecule is a laboratory management system that doubles as a chemical inventory platform and electronic lab notebook. The system allows users to track orders even without the use of email and update inventory through barcode scanning. As an electronic lab notebook, the software provides features for signing and counter-signing and makes team collaboration easier through data sharing.
CrelioHealth LIMS is designed to streamline a wide variety of workflows to help medical labs become future-ready. For instance, the platform automates quality control processes and seamlessly integrates with EMRS to automate orders and results distribution. Workflows such as sample processing and instrument interfacing can be automated and customized according to laboratories’ unique requirements as well.
CloudLIMS is a LIMS designed to support laboratories in automating workflows and efficiently managing samples throughout their full lifecycles. The platform also helps manage complex laboratory processes such as sample requisition, inventory management, and collaborative studies. For added convenience, the software also seamlessly integrates with analytical instruments, so test results can be automatically imported. This helps reduce transcription errors as well.
PROLIS LIMS is designed to improve the performance of hospitals and reference labs of all sizes through automation capabilities. The platform comes with a dedicated web portal for viewing patient results, processing client orders, and generating reports. The software also allows users to create reports and schedule the automatic delivery of results to clients, patients, and colleagues.
With 30 years of experience to its name, LabWare LIMS is one of the most trusted laboratory information management systems today. A unique feature of this LIMS is that it offers multiple deployment options, including cloud deployment, LabWare-hosted deployment, and LabWare SaaS. The software also helps all types of laboratories achieve operational efficiency through automated workflows, instrument integrations, and streamlined documentation.
Sunquest Laboratory is designed to support comprehensive laboratory workflows and help laboratories efficiently deliver accurate results. The software is also versatile, with capabilities to support multi-disciplinary and multi-site environments. Moreover, the platform helps maximize patient safety and ensures utmost clinical quality by optimizing processes for specimen handling and improving turnaround times for results.
Quartzy serves as an end-to-end solution for managing different types of laboratory workflows. The software centralizes all lab operations in a single platform so lab staff can focus on research instead of management tasks. For added convenience, this lab software also comes with features for inventory management and request management. Users also get access to over 10 million life sciences products through the built-in Quartzy Shop feature.
NucleoLIS is a lab testing software designed to meet the unique needs of laboratory-defined tests, including genetic and molecular testing. As such, the software allows users to create and configure specific test menus and workflows and set up rules-based logic for reflex testing. For added functionality, the software also comes with built-in billing features and reporting tools.
Laboratories are the foundation of good science and advancing societies. Many organizations, from public to private businesses, rely on what’s going on inside these facilities. Various governments leverage the findings of their own laboratories to advance the public good and national interests. Among communities, for example, fire research laboratories do a lot to mitigate the risks of firefighters on hazardous duties. Ground best practices born by dedicated lab research, then, along with the best fire department software, are key to the success of operations while ensuring that men and women on duty stay alive.
Just as the company name generator AI offers tools that help entrepreneurs think of the most catchy business name, the laboratory software on this list are more or less evenly matched, with many offering the same core features and capabilities. That said, the best laboratory software is the platform with the features that meet your laboratory or clinic’s unique needs in terms of automated workflows, testing support, and regulatory compliance.
Most of the laboratory management platforms on this list are also highly configurable, so you can modify settings according to your lab’s requirements. However, to make sure you get an end-to-end solution for your facility, you may want to look into advanced features such as inventory management, sample management, built-in billing, and user access control. These features will help ensure that you and your laboratory staff have everything you need to optimize operations.
If you’re looking for more laboratory information management software, check out our list of the 20 best laboratory information management systems today.