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Selecting a Cost Effective Laboratory Information System for the Army Public Health Command - Laboratory Sciences Portfolio

How do I determine which COTS LIMS product will best fit my laboratories?

There are a multitude of Laboratory Information Management Systems on the market – and LabAnswer can make sure you choose the one that best supports your mission with the lowest total cost of ownership. We are the leading laboratory informatics consultancy and helps Government organizations to strategize, architect, implement, and support scientific data management and laboratory automation projects.


In support of this mission, the Agency began pursuing an enterprise scope scientific data and workflow management solution for its six regional laboratories dispersed across three continents.  This unified strategy will replace region-specific solutions that have been in place for many years, hampering the Agency’s ability to standardize its processes, analyze combinable data across the Portfolio, and reduce its long term support and maintenance costs.  The enterprise-wide implementation of an enterprise scope Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) helps the Agency meet its organizational objectives in serving its mission.


The principles objectives that guided the ideal Enterprise LIMS (ELIMS) selection are:

  • Facilitate important business decisions by enabling enterprise wide quality, performance, and service analytics (data analysis) driven by a single master data management strategy
  • Design and deliver functionality that span regional workflows in a more holistic perspective
  • Streamline customer submission and data retrieval processes
  • Greatly reduce the overall workload for system maintenance and upgrades
  • Maintain consistent regulatory accountability and traceability across regions


LabAnswer performed a Laboratory Information System Assessment, staring with eliciting the requirements from across the command. These were then harmonized into a standard set of clear and concise requirements, and optimized using “As-Is” and "To-Be" business process diagram workflows as well as data flow diagrams.  Our 20 years’ experience in laboratory sciences enabled us to revealed opportunities for business process optimization as in integral part of the implementation, which were incorporated into the “To-Be” vision.  

LabAnswer evaluated the available LIMS in the market against the “To-Be” vision, identified three potential solutions, managed Vendor Demonstrations, and performed a detailed product assessment. Government Evaluators were provided with demonstration scripts and scoring sheets, which they completed during the Vendor demonstrations.  While LabAnswer managed the entire demonstration process, all evaluation and scoring remained solely the responsibility of the Government. 

The resulting LIMS Assessment Report provided the Government with a complete picture of the available LIMS in the market, their ability to support the Command’s “To-Be” Vision, and overall scoring across seven dimensions, including Functionality, Technical Architecture, Client References, Strategic Partnership, Implementation Approach, Risk, and the overall Cost Structure, enabling the client a fully informed business decision to support their mission.  Figure 1 below provided an overview of the LabAnswer approach.

Figure 1 - Strategic Assessment Services

Requirements Elicitation
Product Identification
Vendor Demonstration
  • Captured requirements at each Region
Developed Down Select Criteria
Developed Vendor Demonstration Script
Provided detailed assessment results, across seven factors, including Functionality, Technical Architecture, Cost, Client References, and Risk
  • Harmonized into a single set of Enterprise Requirements
Identified three potential COTS solutions Managed Vendor Demonstration Processes Enable APCH to make a fully informed product selection
    Captured Vendor Response to Enterprise Requirements  


LabAnswer elicited requirements from across the six labs, categorizing them into eleven key Workstreams that the command performed. Each of these Workstreams were harmonized across the command, with a standard set of requirements for each one. These requirements were used to down-select three products from the available market, develop vendor demonstration scripts and surveys, manage the vendor demonstration process and logistics, and perform detailed analysis of the results to enable the command to make a fully informed product selection. Within the six month project; the Government achieved:

  • Harmonized requirements across six separate labs and regions
  • Standardized, optimized and documented “To-Be” Workstreams
  • Product evaluation and selection based on seven key dimensions
  • Total Cost of Ownership analysis for the rollout of the ELIMS


LabAnswer is a product-agnostic consultancy, who derives no profit from product revenues of the LIMS we evaluate.  This enables us to focus on selecting the best solution for our clients, from across the LIMS domain. We maintain relationships and knowledge of all the available LIMS in the market, solely for the purpose of providing guidance and expertise to our client base.  We combined this expertise with methodologies that we have developed over the past 20 years to provide our clients with the intellectual property to assess, design, and implement for the largest enterprise LIMS deployments. The culmination of this experience is: The highest quality work delivered in the most efficient manner.