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Erwin Seinen Says the Paper Lab Notebook is Finally Dying with eLabNext

Harry Glorikian: Hello. I’m Harry Glorikian, and this is The Harry Glorikian Show, where we explore how technology is changing everything we know about healthcare. 

If you walked into a typical life science research lab at a university or a biotech startup, you might be surprised to see how much paper is still laying around. 

A lot of lab instruments and measuring devices still print their results on paper. And a lot of researchers still keep records of their experiments and studies in paper notebooks, where they literally paste the output from their latest experiments onto the paper pages.

The shelves of their offices are lined with old notebooks. And when they want to check on the results of some old experiment or help another researcher reproduce the results, they have to find the right notebook and then decipher whatever they wrote by hand. 

So, along with doctor’s offices, life sciences labs might be one of the very last corners of professional life that surrenders to digitization. But these labs are surrendering. And my guest this week is helping to accelerate that shift. His name is Erwin Seinen, and he’s the founder and CEO of a company called eLabNext

The company’s core product is a Web-based software platform called eLabJournal. Users access it via Web browser on their laptop or mobile device. It includes tools for inventory and sample tracking, managing experimental protocols and procedures, and recording experimental results. 

Erwin Seinen Says the Paper Lab Notebook Is Finally Dying with eLabNext

Seinen spent years building e-commerce tools before he went back to school and got his degree in medical genetics. So he knew how to write software, and to streamline his dissertation work, he built his own electronic lab notebook tool.  

He says his lab colleagues were so jealous that he realized every lab researcher needs a similar tool. And that’s how eLabNext was born. 

But when absolutely everything goes digital, there’s the danger of losing the special connection between mind, pen, and paper that goes with making old-fashioned handwritten notes.

I talked to him about that. And we also touched on his vision of how an electronic lab notebook can fit together with other lab tools, in an era where there’s just too much data to print out everything on paper. 

The transition from paper to electronic lab notebooks might sound like an obscure problem. But what I learned from him is that if companies and universities manage this transition right, they can benefit from all the latest digital tools — without sacrificing any of the spontaneity, curiosity, or creativity that good science is all about. 

Let’s welcome Erwin Seinen, CEO of eLabNext to the show.

Harry Glorikian: Erwin, welcome to the show. 

Erwin Seinen: Thank you for having me. 

Harry Glorikian: So. I know we’re going to talk about the company and the products and what you guys are doing, but. I wanted to step back for a second because, you know, it seems like when I’m talking about areas of data and life sciences, you know, somebody’s always coming to this intersection from a very different direction or a personal journey.

So I wanted to, you know, say, hey, can you give us a little bit about your personal journey?

I know you worked in e-commerce for a long time in the early years of the Web, helping businesses get online. But at the same time, you were studying Drosophila fruit flies and earning degrees in medical genetics. I almost want to say that those two things come together in a way when you started eLabNext in 2011. 

Erwin Seinen: Absolutely. Yes. Yes, they sure did. Because, I mean, at first it seems to be like two way different regions of work. E-commerce has nothing to do with life science, and it doesn’t, to be honest. But of course, if you look a little bit deeper, further, e-commerce is also about digitalization, going from a brick and mortar store into digitizing, creating an inventory, being able to track your orders, the history, etc., gaining new insights into having all those data, the orders, and trying to improve upon that.

So, yes, in the very early days I was involved with e-commerce. This was basically my stepping stone, my start into going into the digital world. It always fascinated me.

Myself, I was programming, I think once I was nine years of age in basic and just by gaining knowledge and reading throughout the web, I was able to also create a platform for e-commerce shops. So that’s of course very different from from when I was starting my PhD, working with Drosophila fruit flies and mostly into the genetics space

And even though I wasn’t immediately going into the direction that I’m going right now into creating a platform like the eLabJournal of eLabNext, an electronic lab notebook, being able to record all of your experiments, your samples, etc., your procedures, it was basically more that while I was working with with genomics, and genomics is like a massive amount of data. It was already back then, it still is now, and it will remain to be a massive amount of data.

And I needed to work with those. And genomics DNA as most refer to it, is is very simple. As in you have the notes in the music, you have the letters in alphabet that form the words and in DNA it’s just A, T, C, and G or just four components. And but the genome is very large.

So in order to be able to work with it, you need to have proper tools. And in my line of research were specifically going into so called anti RNA, which is just simply, simply put, if you are able to attach A to T, C to G, which is similar to if you create a word with letters in the alphabet to to create the words, or if you create a symphony and you need the notes in a music, they always need to be combined in a certain way.

And the same is true if you look at the DNA, A always goes to the C always goes G. So my line of research was if you can attach a small part of DNA to the whole genome, to a particular gene, it will silence it. So that’s very interesting because then you’re able to specifically choose out the gene that might be involved with creating a cancerous or any other genetic hereditary disease that needs to be silenced. 

Erwin Seinen: If you use this technique, you can silence those genes. But you can also imagine that if if there’s just four components to it, it’s very simple. And if you only have a short strand in this huge genome throughout, then you might not only attach it to one gene, but you could also attach it to others, just like in the normal way you use and or if then regular words throughout all sentences.

So and that’s that’s something I was involved with like, okay, what if I want to silence this gene? How am I sure I’m not going to silence other genes? How can I know that? So there were tools available. By tools, but they were not designed for that purpose.

So I use my knowledge from technology, computers, programming to create a tool, create a novel algorithm to be able to search for those. And that has helped throughout my whole PhD to be able to really be sure that I’m knocking out this specific gene and not all the others. And yeah, that that really also came to a publication.

So people right now are still using to this date the knowledge that I gained back then, and they’re using it to research right now. So that that was for me, the glue between how can I improve my research with my knowledge from the computer science, basically. 

Erwin Seinen: And that basically also came into play with, okay, now I’m doing all this research, but am I going to put it in a in a paper notebook? No, it’s not possible. I mean, genomic data, it’s too large.

If I print it out, I would be spending many trees just to be able to to print out the whole sequence and to tell you what I’ve been doing. So this is how I also started out with a proof of concept for just for myself, like an electronic lab notebook, how we call it today, just a digital system for me to track and trace my experiments, my samples and my procedures.

And this was how many colleagues were in awe of like, Oh, this is easy. And if we’re going into a work meeting, you’re just like this and you produce the results and you’re able to go back into history and all these things.

Enter: eLabNext.

We want this, we want you to give it to us. But I mean, at the time it was just personal software or something, just quick and dirty just for myself. But that did also give my give me the idea like, hey, you know, there’s there’s people that want this, people that need this. And this is why I also just stumbled upon it. I need to do something with this. 

Harry Glorikian: So. So you you know, that was the past. Now we’re in the present. The main product at you know, your company eLabNext today is an electronic notebook called eLabJournal. Right.

So I can imagine your main competition is old fashioned handwritten lab notebooks, because I remember that well. This is understandable. I mean, the way that we used to do things is keeping lab notebooks going back through it.

I remember we used to have to number them all. I remember that the IP department wanted to know which lab notebook we were going to file IP on and give it to them. But. Right. Do you have a sense of how many researchers still keep handwritten notebooks? 

Erwin Seinen: Mm hmm. Yeah. So. I mean, back when we started almost a decade ago, when we started founding the company, setting up the software, it was almost everyone just using the paper notebook with all the pains and the no gains that accompany that.

And throughout the time, we’ve we’ve seen the transition in the industry that first we need to work with our inventory, with the sample management. We need to fix that. We need to a way to easily access procedures and build upon the knowledge and to get results and to come up with new novel ideas based on these results.

And the industry really learned that the paper notebook wasn’t the way to do it. It was impossible, basically. And this is where we really saw the shift maybe like five years ago, where there was really a big shift into all those companies, universities, basically all research and development labs.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be related to life science, it can also be very different, from batteries or doing research on the polar bears or you name it, something that that this is just needed. And that shift happened five years ago.

So you now see this huge adaptation of everyone moving into this space. So new labs being founded 100% are going to look into this direction right away. Existing labs, depending a little bit on where they’re coming from, which country, which culture, backgrounds. But most most of them are either considering in that lab notebook or they already have adopted one. So this is the point where we’re at right now. 

Harry Glorikian: You know, you think about only five years ago, I mean, I haven’t been using paper. I mean, I still use paper. But, you know, I’m so used to punching everything into my computer on some sort of program, that my handwriting has actually gotten a lot worse because I’m not doing it as much.

But so what are the big disadvantages of old fashioned handwritten notes. I mean, I bet you have horror stories about what can go wrong. 

Erwin Seinen: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. There’s many of them. Countless of them. What we’ve heard from from our customers throughout. To your point of I can hardly believe just five years ago this is true. I mean, what you see now is that the laboratories are a little bit behind on the whole digital journey, or they have been behind on the digital journey where people got access to smartphones and tablets and laptops that have all day battery.

You didn’t see that transition yet, like in all those other industries. So they’re a little bit, they’re left a little bit behind, but they’re really progressing into making up for that. But yeah, I mean, for the horror stories, we’ve we’ve had department heads and professors that that, of course, are responsible for the group.

And if you do a publication, you need to be able to have reproducible results.

And we’ve have so many stories of of those people that got a question from outside because of their publication, like, hey, we’re doing additional research on this topic and we need to know exactly how to reproduce your results. I mean, there’s a lot of materials and methods, but we need some additional details. Can you please provide us with these details?

And they can’t because they simply don’t have that information at their fingertips. So either the lead investigator already left the organization or what what they had was is not legible anymore and may mean to your point of your handwriting, it’s becoming worse and worse.

But so many people have a bad handwriting. And just being able to go through all the piles of books, it’s just something you can’t do. So those people are getting frustrated, of course, because they need to reproduce what they publish and this needs to happen.

So we have other, other stories of scientists coming in and their predecessors, they didn’t take a lot of notes and they’re wasting sometimes years of of work because they are redoing the work, which has already been done but fails. 

Erwin Seinen: But they also fail to document this properly. So people just retry because they don’t know better. And so there’s a huge waste.

We have stories of data loss either through paper notebooks because simply there’s a fire, or if they did into the digital space, maybe they’re using some word processor or a spreadsheet and they’re storing their files on a USB stick or a hard drive, but they fail to have a proper system that is cloud based and replicating the data, etc. and they, they, they just lost their data.

They lost months or years of work because those drives or thumb drives went missing. So we have also stories of waste of space. And because if you have a typical freezer, like a -80 freezer, this has tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of those little cubes with samples.

And you need to be able to know what’s in there. But they’re also afraid of tossing it out if they don’t know, because maybe someone knows what’s in there and it’s very important.

So we’ll just keep it where it is. So what happens is there is those freezers just keep on piling up. And sometimes there’s decades, decades of old samples in there that nobody knows what’s in it, but they’re afraid to toss it, and wasting space, wasting energy, because those freezers needs to be cooled at all times.

So there are so many examples. And to me, horror stories like, okay, but this, I mean, if, if you’re experiencing these kinds of issues, you need to have a solution. So that’s a part of what we’re trying to prevent at eLabNext. 

Harry Glorikian: So when you were building, say, the first version of your product, I mean, did you study how people take notes and the way they use their notebooks? I mean, which, if any, had, I don’t know, a best practice to try to preserve the data and to build into the product, right? 

Erwin Seinen: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. That’s that’s absolutely key if you’re transitioning. I mean, change is difficult for everyone. You don’t want change. You just want to be the things as they are right now because that’s what you’re comfortable with. And any change needs to be a huge improvement, but it should also the transition needs to be as easy as possible.

And that all comes down to how intuitive is your software, how intuitive is your your platform to work with? And of course, for myself, I have my background in life science. So I felt a pain. I know how people work in the lab and I know how it could be better.

But we also throughout our our company, we have many scientists or ex scientists in the company with PhDs that are consultants and part of the account management team to help and to yeah. To, to really make sure that any lab is transitioning smoothly. But first things first, it needs to be intuitive and then if I need to do my things way, way different than I used to be doing it before or it takes me more work. It’s, it’s just not going to it’s going to fail. Right.

And so the whole software is really about, okay, for instance, if I’m starting in an electronic lab notebook, I need to not just have like a database with records because that’s not something that I’m comfortable with.

But I, I just want to have a digital version of my notebooks. I want to have an empty page where I can write my stuff down, where I can put in pictures, where I can include some Excel files, etc., etc.. So that that’s intuitive way of working that is, is definitely key and in our success. 

Harry Glorikian: So. I guess, you know, maybe now’s a good time to if you could walk me and the listeners through the features, how it works, some of the main features. 

Erwin Seinen: Yeah. So when when we started out, we always envisioned to have this all-comprehensive platform and to an extent we’ve been able to do that in house and to another extent, we’ve been also able to get in the help of third parties to to get to that point. So at the very beginning, we identified that just having an electronic notebook will not suffice.

Back in the day, there were other companies also trying out with setting up an ELN and putting it in the market. But it was just that it was a digital version of their notebook.

However, if you conduct experiments, you do so based on certain procedures and you’re going to use certain materials, samples, equipment to work throughout your experiments. And when you are finished with your experiments, you’re going to have lots of data points that need to to fit somewhere and to give you new insights and to be able to work with these data points.

So we define three major parts sample management, protocol management or procedure management and the electronic lab notebook to combine everything. So if I’m starting experiments, I need to choose which procedure I’m going to choose which samples, and then I’m going to get my results.

And that’s the three components that we’ve we’ve been building into the platforms. First, at the very first start, we started with the protocols, put it out there, and then we created lab inventory for sample management and equipment management, and then we created a lab journal for the experiment management itself, which is now encapsulated into the eLabNext platform. That’s how we refer to it. 

Erwin Seinen: So then of course, if, if you get to the point to being all comprehensive, it’s impossible to do that as a single, single company. You can try, but you will fail.

And this is also why we set up to be like an open ecosystem for, for other third parties. So we have a marketplace and third parties can create add-ons through our software development kits. And this will enable to also leverage the data points that you have, but also consume it from other systems.

But also to be able to maybe, if you want to use AI to to look at your data, how am I going to do that in a very easy way? Now that can be an integration. Just install the add-on from the company. Now you can push your data to them. They will do some analysis and crunching and it comes back into your lab. If I want to use a desktop program, can I do that if it’s web based? Yes.

With the eLabNext platform you can, because you need to be that comprehensive. So if I want to use some exotic program because that came with my microscope, can I use that along with your own off the shelf? Yes, we can do that and it’s fully integrated. So that’s really how we envision the platform as that whole comprehensive platform for for every bit of research that you need to conduct. 

Harry Glorikian: Do you have any stories that you can share from a customer on, on, say, before and after and the impact that it had with them? 

Erwin Seinen: Yeah. I mean, I have a few good anecdotal, but I think I can just in general also speak for for all our customers. If you look at the retention rate or the churn rate or the technical terms for a company to look into, how successful is your software? It’s almost zero because people, once they get in, they just love it.

And that’s because it’s time saving. It’s increasing your reproducibility. So people get very enthusiastic about these things, of course, because this is what they aim to go for. And overall, just throughout, they become more successful and be able to get into more research and get more done basically than they would be doing with a paper notebook.

So from all our customers, we just get the all the nice feedback like this is such a huge improvement from where we’ve been coming from because now I have my data at my fingertips and this shows throughout. And not only in research and development because that’s our main focus, but we also see that other types of laboratories are now looking into this direction like, hey, we can we can actually use this.

Like we recently had a huge COVID lab that had so many, many COVID tests that they need to conduct and they were able to use our system and just increase like 1000 fold in how it would be if they would just do everything by hand and trying to mark it down just by being able to connect their robotic systems.

And yeah, overall they were of course very happy also with the results, which actually was also acknowledged with an award for being able to help with COVID, in the battle. So yeah, I mean, I have so many examples. Basically, I can tell you stories about every single customer that we have that they they find so much more help in getting their work done. 

Harry Glorikian: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I can imagine. I mean, there’s I mean, there’s so much data now that I don’t know how you manage without using technology to help manage all that data. 

Erwin Seinen: And that’s a huge shift from the industry from, let’s say, a decade, a decade ago where there wasn’t so much data, but now there is so much data. And if you want to make sense out of it all, you need to have systems to be able to do so to get the insight that you need. 

[musical interlude] 

Harry Glorikian: Let’s pause the conversation for a minute to talk about one small but important thing you can do, to help keep the podcast going. And that’s leave a rating and a review for the show on Apple Podcasts. 

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It’ll only take a minute, but you’ll be doing a lot to help other listeners discover the show. 

And one more thing. If you like the interviews we do here on the show I know you’ll like my new book, The Future You: How Artificial Intelligence Can Help You Get Healthier, Stress Less, and Live Longer.  

It’s a friendly and accessible tour of all the ways today’s information technologies are helping us diagnose diseases faster, treat them more precisely, and create personalized diet and exercise programs to prevent them in the first place. 

The book is now available in print and ebook formats. Just go to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and search for The Future You by Harry Glorikian. 

And now, back to the show. 

[musical interlude] 

Harry Glorikian: Recently I, I interviewed a guest, his name is David Fuller, who’s the CEO of a company called Artificial. They make software based digital twins of every piece of equipment in the lab. So you can standardize interactions between machines through an app they call a single pane of glass.

And they’re helping with a hard problem, which is basically automating or orchestrating a process that is moderately to highly unstructured.

So it’s like taking a test kitchen and making it work a little more like a factory. I’m wondering if you see eLabNext as another part of the solution for labs that have adopted a lot of automation. I mean, is is adopting an electronic notebook an essential next steps once a lab has automated. 

Erwin Seinen: Yes. Yes, I can comfortably say that. Absolutely. This is essential. So and this is also to my point, and if you want to be comprehensive, you need to be able to connect with third parties. And this is just yet another example of a third party doing excellent work with being able to standardize the way, how to communicate with equipment, how to standardize the data that comes from it.

So having all these data points in a centralized manner, you can only do so by having a central platform out there that is able to, to, to make sense of it all. So and it also brings it into context.

For example, if you’re just looking at equipment, a platform that has lots of equipment in there that’s doing some monitoring, maybe gathering some data points, and if you use it standalone, that’s fine.

Especially if you’re a lab manager, then this is something that you really want to do. You want to get this bird’s eye view of all the equipment that’s going on, and you need to be able to have proper maintenance cycles. And if there’s data points in there that the scientists can go in there and just pull the data out and then use it throughout their experiments.

But if you want to also put in some some some additional information in there, some context in there, that that is something that’s an ELN can do. 

Erwin Seinen: For instance, let’s say I want to conduct an experiment and I’m going to use a couple of samples, but the samples, according to my procedure, should never be left above 70 degrees Celsius for a specific period of time, because if that happens, I can’t use it. But maybe in another procedure that’s fine.

You can use that material. So now because you can bring it into context, you can connect with these platforms that query for the specific information from those freezers. Like, I need the samples, are they fine, yes or no? Because looking back in the history, can I use these samples or should I look elsewhere? So that’s something also for alerting if if I’m a scientist and I work in the lab and I’m running an incubator overnight, I want to know if that thing fails. I need to know.

But if another incubator down the other department goes offline, you don’t need to bother me with this. This is something for the lab manager to take on because it’s not for me. And so not to get into too much alerting too much messages. And is this for me? Yes or no? You need to be more contextually involved with the equipment that you have, and that’s something that an ELN can definitely do, apart from the data analysis equipment that produces a lot of data.

Where are you? Hosting is how you bring it into context with the experiments that you’re doing, with the samples that you have, with the procedures that you’ve been doing these these analysis with. So that context, that’s something that’s that an ELN platform provides. 

Harry Glorikian: Yeah. And I mean, recently, I want to say recently I feel like it’s longer than recently but you know, reproducibility. People trying to reproduce results from other — you know, there was a recent investigative piece in Science, I believe it was, about the Alzheimer’s work and how nobody could reproduce what was there, and that that costs millions of millions of dollars afterwards, people trying to build on top of that.

So I believe that there’s a lot of this story about switching to an electronic lab journal that’s legal compliance. Regulatory compliance, I don’t know. So can you talk a little bit about the regulations and principles that affect the life science researchers? I mean, there’s all sorts of jargon we use like GLP, Good Laboratory Practice or 21 CFR Part 11. Right.

I mean, there are all these these words that we throw in, there’s dozens of words, but maybe you can talk about how your system fits into all that and then. Makes the reproducibility issue later much more streamlined, let’s say. 

Erwin Seinen: Yeah. Yeah. So it’s it’s a very important topic and it’s a very important topic for our customers as well, even if they are not how they refer to like compliant because the GLP is like Good Laboratory Practice, but you also have Good Manufacturing Practice. And so G is how we encapsulate all those terms. Even if you are not a GXP lab, you still want to maybe in the future you want to be one.

So it is a very important topic.

And also if you look at other like these quality systems is that who is the company behind it? And it maybe the software is compliant, but who as a company are you really like following the standards and the quality systems, etc.?

So as a company, we are ISO 27000 01 certified and that’s a very important one because it’s about security and make sure that throughout everything what we do within a company, we make sure that security is topnotch and that that drills down all the way from the employees to the workspace up until the cloud systems and up until the the actual systems that you’re using the to the end users. But for the software itself, if you deploy next into an environment, it needs to qualify to a certain standard because that’s that’s what it’s all about.

And you can you can simplify all these terms because they’re basically quality systems, right? They’re all about, did you follow procedure? Who’s been following procedures? Have you the permission or roles to be able to do the procedure that you’ve been doing? And did you have the proper training? Is there any safety hazard if you didn’t? So the who, what, when, why? They all need to be able to be answered. 

Erwin Seinen: And that’s the beauty of a platform like this, because what you don’t want to be is like being a bookkeeper. As a scientist, you just want to do research and development and to get into the next phase of your research. And you don’t want to be bothered with, am I compliant with this? Did I do this correctly?

Yes or no?

So what the system is doing is just in the background. Make sure that you’re compliant because it’s creating an audit trail as you’re doing things. So if I’m picking a sample, if I’m doing an experiment, if I do change a procedure and change some parameters, you can always trace back. If I’m looking at an image and I’m going to enhance the image, which is I mean, fine if you’re transparent about it.

And in most cases you need to be to be able to view what’s happening in an image, but you also need to be able to produce the raw material at all times and to show which steps you have done. Increasing brightness, increasing contrast, did you cut out certain parts or to enhance our parts?

So this is all building in the background. So the researcher is just by using the platform is is more compliant and of course compliant means the whole thing. It’s not just the software, it’s also the laboratory, it’s also the people. So it’s still a part of behavior and complying with all the other regulatory issues that exist within the organization. But it really helps into making sure that you stay compliant if you are and to help you be compliant if you’re not fully, in the background, fully transparent. 

Harry Glorikian: So, you know, a lot of people that listen to the show are from the industry. They’re life science insiders. But but there’s still quite a few all over the world that are not so. If you had to explain to a total non-expert why the transition to electronic lab notebooks matters, I mean, and how it can make their lives better, what would you tell them? 

Erwin Seinen: So what I always tell them is, you know, in so many industries, in so many ways, digitalization has helped. I mean, it’s a given. It’s not a question, it’s a given. If you move into digitalization, things get better, things improve.

And if we boil down what we’re doing to help people transition from a paper version into a digital version, is become more productive, be more reproducible, save time and gaining new insights, which is also very important because a paper notebook only gives you a page by page look.

But having all the data at your fingertips and being able to to aggregate data and to make new novel conclusions based on that, giving new insights, that’s something you can only do with a digital platform. You will never, ever be successful if you stick with the paper notebook by getting to that point. 

Harry Glorikian: So. I’m trying to summarize here. Right. So if you look at the pressures we’ve been talking about, right, the computation explosion in the life sciences, the automation and digitization of the laboratory itself, the regulatory requirements around digital data. I mean, I think it’s fair to say that the handwritten lab notebook is dead or dying, and that’s probably an unavoidable thing.

I mean, again, you said some countries may be behind, but it’s inevitable it’s going to happen. I mean, the notebook feels like that last part of the research workflow that hasn’t been fully digitized and there’s just no way to it can survive into the all-digital future. But I’m wondering, do you feel that anything is lost in that transition?

There’s a sense in which writing is thinking. I mean, I know that when there’s many things about when I write it down it sticks in my head better than when I’m typing is there. So, you know, what can you do to make sure there’s still room in a digital lab notebook for individuality, creativity, and unexpected discoveries and insights? 

Erwin Seinen: Right, right. Yeah. That really is about accessibility, as in if I mean, there’s no denial that if if I have a sheet of paper in front of me and a pen and I need to just put my thoughts somewhere, then picking up the pen and writing it down quickly is something you can definitely do.

For short term, yes, that’s okay. But long term, not so much, because you have so many notebooks, paper, paper pages everywhere. And it’s it’s difficult to find. Accessibility is key here. And this is also why there is another shift happening, is that in the in the older days and I’m talking about the term LIMS here, that’s the Laboratory Information Management System. It mostly refers to more the industry type of software that helps in manufacturing and whatnot.

And if you look in that direction, it’s always been this big software that needs huge systems to run and you need to go to your desktop and there’s some desktop program in there that’s not helpful. I mean, if you want to have really access to your data and if you want to beat the paper and the pen, this is not going to work because if you’re in the lab and you need them to work back to your office and go behind your computer and type in what you need to and read something and go back to the lab, it’s not going to work. 

Erwin Seinen: So accessibility to data means that it needs to be agnostic to the device that you’re using. And that’s something that is, of course, happened in the last decade, is we don’t only have desktop computers, but now we have handheld devices, we have mobile phones, we have tablets, we have laptops that that survive a battery throughout the day instead of burning out within 10 minutes.

And this helps, and the platform that we created is agnostic to any device, so you’re not bound to your computer. But if you need to quickly look up something or if you need to enter some details about your island, then it’s fine, where you’re going to use your desktop, or you just take out your phone and look up in the app and do your thing.

Or you have a tablet which is just sitting on your desk and you can work with that which is at your fingertips. And just having access to the data is, I believe, is key into being really that advantage and the replacement for the paper notebook. Without it, it wouldn’t be what it should be. 

Harry Glorikian: Yeah. No, I you know, I still go back and forth. If you look at my desk, there’s pieces of paper everywhere on quick notes and then, you know, more formal stuff gets done on the, the system in front of me. 

Erwin Seinen: Yeah. I mean, I know. And this is also one of the like these little features that we have. If you really want to write, you can. So if you take our app and you want to pull up a sticky note, we have a sticky note feature. If you have your finger or a digital pen, you can actually write on that. It will OCR into written text and sync back to your platform.

So when you’re back at your computer, then you can pull up the sticky note and then you can move over that information into your actual [notebook]. So we try to accommodate people that still want to do some jotting down and taking some quick notes, but. Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s a it’s a good question. And it’s something that is definitely on people’s minds. 

Harry Glorikian: Well, you know, it’s been great to talk to you about this. I know with all the work that I do between, you know, biological and data coming together, I mean, if the data is not accessible, you can’t analyze it, you can’t make the next decision. It just makes it a lot harder. And if I have to look up things in a notebook, I mean, again, going back to how people write things down, half of the stuff I might not be able to read. 

Erwin Seinen: Right. Even your own handwriting. 

Harry Glorikian: And my even my own handwriting. Yes. Right. So I think when that when your handwriting is that bad, you’re supposed to be a doctor. 

Erwin Seinen: Yes, I think so. Yeah. 

Harry Glorikian: So it was a pleasure to talk to you. I wish you great success and, you know, everybody adopts this so that, you know, research and and the work that we need done in drug development moves much faster. 

Erwin Seinen: Yes. Yes, that’s that’s what we all want. We want to move things faster and get things better. So it was a pleasure talking to you. Thank you for having me. 

Harry Glorikian: Thank you. 

Harry Glorikian: That’s it for this week’s episode.  

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