The wait time for test results of samples from the laboratories has now been shortened with the launch of Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), an online database system designed to efficiently manage the information of all veterinary laboratory activities.

It has the features for online entry of sample details, test result, diagnosis, and recommendation. The system helps the veterinary laboratories to track samples from submission details to testing and reporting of results.

National Centre for Animal Health’s (NCAH) programme director, Dr RB Gurung, said, “This database enables real time tracking of sample testing status through a paperless system. Besides data storage and test result dissemination, customised analysis can also be performed to provide decisions required in policy interventions.”

For instance, if there is an outbreak of a disease in animals, the new system helps in expediting the process of tests and delivering the results and diagnosis by much faster.

The system went online on July 1 and could be remotely accessed by any registered and authorised person, he said. “The officials who decide the diagnosis based on the test results can be anywhere in the world, but still convey their diagnosis.”

Livestock officials said that every year laboratories in the country produced a large number of data from the number of samples submitted and tests performed.

“Until now, all the laboratory networks in the country have been maintaining this information on paper-based system,” an official said.

Storage and management of such large volume of data manually is a huge challenge as they could be lost and damaged. The new web-based database system would help in electronic storage, enhance security, easy analysis, and control on chain of custody.

Dr RB Gurung said that experts in the department developed the system with no cost to the ministry and would reduce the turn-around time for the services to the farmers.

Livestock department’s director general, Dr Tashi Samdup, said that this was one of the best systems in the region.

This system is intended for all the laboratory facilities under the livestock department namely the NCAH, regional livestock development centres (RLDCs), satellite veterinary laboratories (SVLs) and dzongkhag veterinary laboratories (DVLs).

Another advantage of the system is fixing accountability and responsibility. According to the annual performance agreements (APA), the laboratories have annual target of conducting 1,500 tests of samples.

The programme director said that the new system makes it convenient to monitor and evaluate the achievements on the APA targets.

There are veterinary laboratories in all dzongkhags, four regional laboratories, four satellite laboratories and a national laboratory in Thimphu.

Tshering Palden