As incredible as it may seem, most labs are still in the paper age. That is, they still have a large part of their records, mainly raw data from analysis and results calculation, in analysis sheets or laboratory notebooks.
This condition is a critical factor in the laboratories optimization and is a limiting factor in increasing the productivity and quality of the results generated, as well as in the operating costs reduction.
Understand the reasons for eliminating the use of paper in your laboratory:
Reason 1 – Prevents productivity increase
Paper doesn’t propagate information automatically, so it isn’t difficult to realize that all record transcription between forms, spreadsheets and even calculators take a valuable time from analysts and thus reduce their ability to perform further analysis.
Reason 2 – Commits quality of results
Fact: One of the main sources of error within a laboratory is the transcription of data. With the use of paper records, it is necessary to transcribe the identification of the sample, the readings obtained in the analysis equipment, those readings to the calculator, the calculator results to the form, the form data to the analysis report and so on. With this, failures happen and the reliability of the results obtained in the analysis is compromised.
With the increasing number of analyzes, the pressure increases and the rush compromises even more the quality, after all, as the saying goes, haste makes waste.
Reason 3 – Prevents the reduction of operational costs
The use of paper, besides taking time from analysts with non-value adding manual activities, makes the process much more susceptible to failures and rework, generating the need for revisions by another professional, thus taking even more time from other professionals, hindering the reduction of costs.
In addition, the cost of paper, printers, printing supplies and adequate space for storing paper records is very expensive.
Reason 4 – Inappropriate use of human resources
Making paper records is very simple, but the advantages end there. Logging information on paper takes time and involves transcripts that take even more time from human resources, increasingly specialized and expensive, with monotonous and repetitive activities. This prevents analysts from engaging in activities directly related to their training and where they could add value.
Reason 5 – Undertakes audits and, eventually, their accreditation or certification
Paper accepts everything – accept correct and incorrect values, accept that you forgot to inform the equipment used, that a value was scratched without proper identifying the new value, the author and the date of the change, anyway, wings to the imagination.
This compromises audits, generating nonconformities and observations that will take a long time to be solved. Not to mention that recovering the original paper records for demonstrating evidences to the auditor can take a long time.
The disadvantages associated with paper are many and may vary in intensity from laboratory to laboratory, but the fact is that paper as a means of storing information has been outdated for decades through information technology. It’s more than time for the labs to come out of the stone age. Or should I say, paper age?
Labsoft Tecnologia CEO