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Kemsa adopts new laboratory system for data accuracy, security

By Jacinta Mutura | June 12th 2021

Kemsa CEO Edward Njoroge at Parliament Buildings, August 27, 2020. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

For a long time, the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) has relied on a manually operated laboratory for testing and analysing data. However, this will not be the case anymore as the state agency adopts technology in ongoing reforms.

Technology is expected to enhance accuracy of results of tests. In an interview with Jacinta Mutura, newly-appointed CEO Edward Njoroge explains what use of Laboratory Information Management System means for the organisation.  

How does LIMs work?

The information management system is a software-based solution with features that support modern laboratory operations. The key features are workflow and data tracking, flexible architecture, data exchange interfaces, data mining, data analysis, environmental monitoring module with electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) integration as added feature.

What are the benefits of LIMS?

The laboratory worksheets are partially or totally handwritten. The laboratory uses sample registers and sample log forms. Data analysis is done by use of excel sheet. LIMS helps to standardise workflows, tests and procedures, while providing accurate controls for the process and hence improving efficiency. It also offers effective tracking of samples procured and analysed. This ensures all products procured by Kemsa are analysed and the results properly documented. Overall, LIMS will enhance our adherence to good laboratory practices.

What is the current scenario?

Currently, sampling and receipt of samples is done manually. Because of this, we experience challenges in tracking samples. The equipment is not interfaced to any system hence calculations of results obtained from the analytical equipment is done manually which is prone to errors. Manual records such as work instruction, worksheets, COAs are drafted off the system. This has huge costs on paper and storage of the manual records.

What is the impact of the new laboratory system on time management?

We estimate that upon implementation of LIMS, we will have saved 25 per cent of the time taken to conduct analytical activities in the laboratory. The system facilitates easy record keeping and reporting thus eliminating the risks of human error and improving the overall turnaround time.

 What are the projected achievements after adopting the systems?

We are looking at streamlined and controlled laboratory activities because LIMS configurations are set up to track procedures hence no allowance for deviation, thus reliability of results obtained. The new system also eliminates the need for maintaining information manually and meeting regulatory guidelines. Therefore, in the long run, the system will reduce the cost of using paper because all the worksheets will be populated in the system. Interfacing the Analytical equipment with the system reduces manual interaction and hence will reduce human errors that are associated with manual transfer of data from the analytical equipment. The system gives visibility of the products analysed in the lab and batch performance 

What challenges will the technology resolve?

The pre-existing is paper-based system manual registers, logs and worksheets are widely used, Laboratory uses manual systems for managing samples through the laboratory. This pre-existing paper system is limited due to lack of storage and the ever-increasing paperwork. But with the LIMS, inadequacy of space, data insecurity and documents damage will be dealt with in totality.

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