Laboratory monitoring can be challenging. It is often difficult to determine the best methods and practices for implementing and maintaining a robust monitoring platform, especially considering the need to do so 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Facilities and Laboratory Managers must keep constant vigilance over all laboratory conditions and functionality. This task alone can be incredibly time consuming and painstaking. With a laboratory’s valuable research and reputation on the line, it is important to acknowledge all challenges of monitoring your lab’s equipment and ambient parameters.
10 Things About Lab Monitoring That Keep You Up at Night
1) False Alarms
False alarms can be one of the more common issues with laboratory monitoring and often happen at inconvenient times, literally waking you up in the middle of the night. Poorly manufactured or built-in sensors often fail and trigger false alarms when no deviation has occurred. Too many false alarms can lead to “alarm-fatigue” or systems being shut off, which has serious repercussions in the event of a real emergency.
2) Equipment Failures
Equipment inevitably fails and it seems to do so when least expected. Catastrophic equipment failures cost organizations exponentially and can lead to considerable downtime that affects research results, postpones timelines, and raises questions from internal stakeholders. Proper lab monitoring can provide predictive analysis on equipment, showing signs of failure before it occurs.
3) Scheduling Maintenance
80% of maintenance time is spent reacting to errors and failures, rather than preventing them (emaint 2017). Scheduling maintenance on lab equipment can be cumbersome, particularly when it requires downtime in the lab while pertinent research equipment is repaired. A comprehensive lab monitoring solution leveraging predictive analytics enables organizations to prioritize maintenance schedules and minimize downtime.
4) Unreliable Monitoring Equipment
There are a plethora of options on the market for monitoring lab equipment and ambient parameters, but many of these are made cheaply and fail often. Additionally, lab equipment typically comes with some form of internal monitoring, but the outputs are less accurate than more robust solutions. Implementing an industrial grade, validatable monitoring solution provides peace of mind that a reliable monitoring solution is safeguarding lab assets.
Learn more about equipment monitoring systems in our eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Equipment Monitoring.
5) Employee Errors
Employee errors can have lasting effects unless properly addressed. However, correcting employee habits can be one of the most challenging aspects of lab monitoring. Excessive and prolonged door openings on refrigerators, freezers and incubators, as well as improper handling of valuable research materials and sensitive samples, can compromise research results and expose a life science organization to higher risks.
6) Improving Lab SOPs
Life science organizations that aim to to be industry leaders need to constantly consider and improve the processes that govern their business. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) should be continuously improved by analyzing data gathered from closely monitored laboratory operations. The ability to assess and address issues in lab equipment, error-prone employee habits and operational inefficiencies allows an organization to determine areas for improvement.
7) Data & Experiment Reproducibility
Reducing variability in experiments and increasing data reproducibility is imperative to successfully bringing a drug to market. Having complete visibility and total control over variables such as lab equipment, ambient parameters and facility conditions allows scientific organizations to better replicate experiments and add FDA 21 CFR Part 11 compliant data to support ongoing projects and research.
8) Generating Relevant Reports
Big Data only becomes useful if it is categorized and analyzed in a meaningful way, otherwise vast data lakes simply become a burden on IT departments and those responsible for generating reports. Additionally, reports for laboratory conditions and equipment are normally generated only after an error has occurred. Automated reporting on laboratory equipment and conditions allows organizations to keep a pulse on their operations and easily access relevant data.
9) Internal & External Quality Compliance
Real-time data acquisition and system documentation is increasingly important to ensure that rigorous internal and external quality and regulatory compliance standards are met. Supporting internal and external compliance and validation are key facets to a successful life science organization. A proper lab monitoring solution should, at minimum, support compliance with the following regulations and standards: FDA, GxP, GAMP, CLIA, CAP, HAACP, Joint Commission, & USP 797.
With the potential for a FDA audit at least every two years and audit duration lasting at least five days, organizations must constantly be prepared for such an event. FDA audits can be prolonged or exacerbated if organizations are unable to produce proper documentation and quality reports. Utilizing a lab monitoring solution with easily customizable reports enables an organization to quickly prove compliance and minimize downtime due to audits.
XiltriX Helps You Sleep at Night:
Lab Monitoring and Monitoring-as-a-Service
XiltriX is the first and only company to offer a robust laboratory monitoring solution and Monitoring-as-a-Service for life science companies. XiltriX leverages over 30 years of life science industry experience--without a failure--monitoring laboratory equipment, conditions and ambient parameters. XiltriX delivers the world’s most robust, advanced monitoring solution, providing predictive analytics for preventive maintenance, as well as improving SOPs and best practices.
The XiltriX Monitoring-as-a-Service package includes implementation, configuration and management of all hardware and software, including all necessary upgrades and updates. The XiltriX Safety Net team proactively manages every aspect of the hardware and software solution, 24/7, so that customers don’t have to dedicate resources to ensure optimal performance. XiltriX is the trusted partner to protect your science and help you sleep at night.