What is the biggest data challenge that clinical research and diagnostics labs face today?
The fragmentation of data into different silos makes it difficult to bring all the data together. The current approach is to pool data from many different systems (silos) into a data warehouse or a data lake, which is a complex and expensive process that results in the loss of contextualization of this data.
Compared to traditional ways of thinking about data in clinical labs, what is L7 Informatics' approach?
At L7, we are inverting existing data architectures. Instead of buying different point solutions, like electronic lab notebook (ELN), laboratory information management system (LIMS), inventory management, and freezer management—all different siloed systems—and putting them all into a data warehouse, we build the data fabric upfront. Then, we build different apps on top to pull and present the specific information you need from the platform. Thus, you don’t need to buying all the apps separately then aggregate their data; rather, you have the whole database set up from the beginning. This strategy is more efficient and lets you see the whole picture, allowing for better data quality and decision-making, higher throughput, faster time-to-market, and improved regulatory compliance.
What does digital first implementation mean, and how can clinical labs leverage it to solve their data challenges?
Labs have traditionally relied on paper-based and disconnected records. “Digital first” refers to having a digital representation of scientific processes and experiments that can be easily shared anywhere within or across the organization. L7 has created this digital representation so that all the information on how to run a specific scientific experiment is encoded in one file that you can load into the platform to run the entire experiment and manage all the related data. Together, this makes data management more efficient and effective.
What should labs consider when selecting a digital solution?
Labs should prioritize their end goal, whether that’s better throughput, faster implementation times, data quality, or regulatory compliance, and choose the solution that helps them best meet that goal. Often, lab users tend to choose something they are comfortable with (because they’ve used it in the past) rather than considering business goals. This leads to purchasing lab tools that fail to address business pain points, creating more silos within the company, and requiring more data warehouses / data lakes to implement changes. That's why it's important for everyone involved, from end users to senior leadership, to participate in these decisions as well as to select tools that give lab personnel control over changes (what we call citizen-developer tools).
Can you share an example of a client who successfully leveraged the L7 Informatics platform to overcome their challenges?
Several examples come to mind, including one from the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, where one of our clients was able to quickly pivot from running an infectious disease test to a COVID-19 test within less than 30 days using our platform. This demonstrates the L7 platform's ability to facilitate rapid deployment and adapt to a clinical lab’s evolving needs.