Limit breaches: how SmartControl can help

21 December 2020

Missing a limit breach is all too easy if you are using a manual environmental monitoring system. Of course, if you are reading this blog, you perhaps recognise that and the challenges missing breaches can bring to your lab (if not, read our whitepaper). But what you may not know, is that through using SmartControl, these challenges can become an issue of the past. Read on to find out how!

Notification of breaches

When plates are read, identifying the limit for the specific area a plate is associated with is heavily reliant on human memory if you are using a manual system. Particularly in labs with high throughput, this could result in confusion of your team as what the limit is, meaning breaches could accidentally be missed.

With SmartControl, your team would enter data directly into the system as part of a record; if the count is higher than the limit set for the environment, you will be notified instantly of the breach and can react accordingly.

Plate reading

Reading a plate is open to a level of human error; if a count is on the border of being acceptable and there is a miscount, if underestimated, there could have been a limit breach. Of course, this risk can be reduced by second-checking plates. However, this is too often not carried out due to a lack of resource in some facilities. Even when it is carried out, there could be bias if the check is not blind.

For Insight Tier users, SmartControl has a machine learning model for colony counting. This means that no additional resource is required for second checking, and any discrepancies between the counts can be addressed immediately. Additionally, any social elements – such as the second checker being reluctant to disagree with the first – are eliminated, increasing reliability.

SmartControl also comes equipped with a high-resolution photobooth no matter your tier, which can capture images of every plate to be stored as part of an audit trail. Therefore, even if you don’t have the machine learning capabilities, second checking can be improved as the image can be used for second checks.

Access to information

Many legacy labs lack easy access to information, so when a limit breach is discovered, investigating promptly may not be possible. In contrast, SmartControl is a cloud-based environmental monitoring system, meaning records are instantly accessible for an unlimited number of authorised users, anywhere. The record includes your initial recording of data, any changes and additional information, such as images of the plate, allowing you to take immediate action in an easy, timely and thorough manner.

Understanding breaches

Trends in breaches can be challenging to detect. For legacy labs who record initially on paper and then re-transcribe to a separate reporting tool such as Excel, there is a delay to any trending. If you use SmartControl however, there is no such delay as data is added directly into the system. Its powerful reporting features provide you with a level of insight you could only dream of with a manual system, making identification of trends easy.

Want to find out more ways in which SmartControl can help make life easier in your lab? Click here to get in touch!