A workflow is a combination of one or more work-processes. Each work-process can include one or more steps or actions.
The advantages of a workflow system are:
- Users cannot make mistakes in what must be done. The workflow precisely describes all the steps.
- Users can work faster, because they do not need to lookup what must be done in a thick book.
- The organization can describe in greater detail what must be done and tailor each work-process to the individual characteristics of the sample type.
- It is self-documenting. The combinations of workflows is the documentation
- Chain of Evidence. During each step of a workflow you exactly know what actions were performed on a sample, the durations and reasons of these actions, and who performed those action on what location.
- Quality control, assuring that samples are processed promptly. You exactly know at what time samples were received, processed and stored.
- Management advantages. As management you can see what workflows were executed and how long they took
- Billing. You can use the executed workflow as base for billing.
- Cost Control. You know how long workflow-steps actually take, and what workflows were executed.
- Securing integrity of the data and research-results by providing a closed CoC and CoE
Work-processes are another main feature of SampleNavigator.
You can define work-processes using a combination of Microsoft Visio and SampleNavigator.
In SampleNavigator a user only sees the processes he or she is allowed to execute. Other work processes are hidden.
Each work process is stored in a separate Microsoft Visio file.
A visio file can contain two kinds of work processes:
- work processes that involve an action of the computer, so they are executed by the software For instance scan a sample, insert data
- Work processes without action of the computer. Those are purely manual task
Actions of the computer can be:
- With explicit user involvement, like scan a sample, insert data.
- And they can be further split to actions that go automatically to the next step, and actions that wait until the users approves it, and pushes a button.
- Without user involvement, like get HL7 Messages
Defining what happens after an action is rather simple. Actions are connected with arrows and the arrows point to the next actions.
Below an example of a step in a work process.
We have an emtpy “sample holder” and we want to insert the first sample in this “sample holder”. For instance a tube in a box.
You can define the work processes in the language of your choice.
Data can be associated with one or more samples. Below an example of inserting patient data.
In the example you can insert the “last name of a patient”, the “maiden name”, “initials” and “date of birth”. You can insert the data in a vertical form (easy for one record) or in a row (easy for multiple data).
One of the nice features of the interface is the ability to search for existing data. Sometimes you are not sure if a patient is already registered in the system. You can search on each of the fields. This search facility prevents double registration of data