specialized

Do Services Belong in Lab Software?: Specialized vs Centralized by Tom Dolan | October 5, 2018

An important disagreement in laboratory software is specialization vs centralization. Across the fields of research and medicine, the state of this argument, which is that the market leans toward specialized systems, continually hurts lab software users. By the end of this blog, let’s decide if it is time for you to be a bit more demanding.

The truth we want to communicate is that when lab businesses buy software, they accept or even expect specialization. But what does specialization mean and allow? In a typical pharmaceutical facility…

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Nobody’s Perfect, but Data Should Be: Maintaining Data Accuracy by Stephen Ferrell | September 5, 2018

Whether you believe we are the descendants of ancient primates, the children of God or – as I do – the subservient vassals of Gozer the Gozarian, we are all human and we are all imperfect. As with anything our society values, accuracy does not come naturally to us. We may spend years cultivating our attention to detail and our pattern recognition skills, but no matter how careful we think we are, achieving true and consistent accuracy is a challenge we will continue to face until mighty Gozer returns to rain marshmallow Armageddon on our great cities.

As we conclude our ALCOA odyssey at long last, let’s consider the importance of accuracy in the lab…

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original

What Art and Science Have in Common: Only the Original Counts by Stephen Ferrell | August 17, 2018

When modern GMPs were first developed in the 1970’s, few peripheral industries benefited more than the manufacturers of blue pens.

Our younger readers may already be lost at this point, so for their benefit I’ll explain: most early photocopiers could only reproduce in black and white. This meant that having both a photocopy and an original document printed with black ink could be very difficult to tell apart, but using blue ink would always make it clear to the auditor which one was the original. This simple method was so reliable that some organizations began to require it. Life Hacks were a lot harder back then…

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Because You Needed it Done Yesterday: Keeping Data Contemporaneous by Stephen Ferrell | August 3, 2018

Time in the lab is a resource as precious as any instrument, test, or person. Many a fine lab technician has felt the need to find more; to time travel in a sense by recasting or fitting results into a more convenient window. I’m speaking of course about backdating.

Backdating is the original sin in a GxP environment. We are all told in our orientation not to, but it is almost assuredly the first temptation that we face. Backdating has many seemingly reasonable justifications, ‘no one will know’, ‘what’s the harm in it?’, etc. etc. Here is thing to confront: there is always harm in it. If you have backdated, one of the following things has occurred…

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Why the Pen is Not Always Mightier: Legibility in Laboratory Data by Stephen Ferrell | July 20, 2018

Have you ever been told you ‘write like a doctor’? If you have, odds are it wasn’t a compliment recognizing your superior cursive or your masterful ability to spell ‘acetaminophen’ without a spell check. It’s much more likely to have been a lament over the indecipherable scribble you’ve just jotted down. Fortunately, the art of writing with a pen, pencil, or ink-dipped quill is fast disappearing as an elective form of official data capture or communication.

Although laboratories are the very image of modernity in so many ways, they have been uncharacteristically slow in accepting the obsolescence of trusty old writing implements…

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