Specimen Tracking Software News from BSI Systems
Keeping records of specimens in software like BSI is only helpful if users can easily locate, track, and work on them. Particularly for facilities that handle large numbers of specimens, finding a particular specimen, set of specimens, or batch can be like finding a needle in a haystack. It is important that tracking software like BSI provides users with simple, intuitive tools for finding data and keeping tabs on their work.
BSI meets this challenge with the Search tool; an easy-to-use tool, available anywhere throughout the system that users may want to find records, narrow down lists and filter results! The tool includes a list of searchable fields that will change depending on where you are accessing it in order to reflect relevant data. For example, Search can be used to filter the records that are displayed on a batch manager. In this case, the fields available in the tool will be those which pertain to the batches and their properties. Once a field is selected, users can identify specific field values to add to the search criteria. For fields that are associated with a code list, the entire set of code list options will appear, and users can select one of more of these values to search on. Alternately, users can manually enter field values. Users can even specify operators, such as ‘less than or equals’, ‘Or’, ‘does not equal’, or ‘like’ to further specify the defined search criteria. With all of these operators, users have a broad range of options at their disposal in order to find the exact records they want.
The Search tool can be used in many points throughout the system; from narrowing down long lists of displayed items like user accounts, batches or studies in managers, to identifying specimens for import into batches, and even creating in-depth reports. The Search tool can help facilitate workflow fluidity by allowing users to modify views so that they see only the work that is important to them, isolate the specimens that need to be processed, and allow managers to obtain an overview of their users, their specimens and their lab’s workflow dynamic.
Over the next couple of weeks we will investigate more deeply some of the most useful and powerful features of the Search tool, and how they can be implemented to make working in BSI quick and efficient. Keep an eye out for next week’s BSI Feature Focus for more on the Search tool!
One of the challenges faced by specimen handling facilities, particularly those with a large specimen handling staff, is keeping work organized. Fluid and efficient workflow often requires many moving parts, with some specimens being received while others are being processed, and still others are being prepared for shipment. Often, different steps in a specimen processing workflow are done by a different set of staff, with specimens changing hands multiple times throughout their lifetime. It is important that specimen tracking software, like BSI, is not only able to capture this flow, but is able to make the process as clear and straightforward as possible to users.
The Assign To functionality is one way that BSI achieves this. Anywhere in the system that a ‘batch’ can be created it can also be handed off to the next user by assigning it to them. ‘Assign To’ is an easily accessible field, editable from Batch properties or a manager tab of the main system window. Clicking on this field in association with a particular batch will generate a list of users that belong to the active user’s repository. By selecting any user’s name from this list, the batch in question will be given an ‘Assign To’ field value of the selected name. Users can then filter a batch manager on this field value to display the batches assigned to themselves or other users.
Users can also see a list of batches assigned to themselves directly from the BSI Dashboard via the ‘Assign To’ widgets. There are individual Assign To widgets for each manager in the system that handles batches and is available to the active user. By adding the Assign To widget to the Dashboard, a user can quickly and easily see the full list of batches assigned to them without the need for filtering. It’s particularly helpful to have this information provided on the Dashboard as it gives users an idea, immediately upon login, of the work they need to complete.
While batches can only be assigned to one user at a time, they can be assigned from one user to the next as many times as workflow dictates. Once one user has completed their work on a batch, they can either remove their name from the Assign To field, or assign it to the next user. As such, BSI facilitates the forward momentum of work. It also provides users with a clear understanding of the distribution of batches among users, and subsequently indicates pain points or areas where efficiency could be increased. The Assign To functionality is available to any user with the appropriate permissions and can be utilized at any time. Give it a try to see how your workflow moves.
Users of specimen tracking software need that software to possess particular qualities. It must be powerful- capable of providing broad and rich functionality to the user. It must be configurable- providing the user with options for customization and flexibility to conform to each users unique needs. It must be secure- not only in terms of limiting access to those outside of the environment, but also in providing meaningful ways of designating roles and permissions for users within the environment. However, in order to meet these goals such a system is necessarily complex. BSI’s answer to reconciling such capable software with ease of use is our carefully established, totally integrated BSI support system.
From customized on-site training, to methods of communicating with support staff in-system, and even our new interactive support community, BSI provides users with a dynamic support network designed to keep users informed, equipped and on task. This is accomplished in a few key ways. First, users will find that there are many ways to access help while working within BSI. At any time, users can contact our support team by filling out a ‘Message to Administrator’ form, available under the BSI Help menu. This form allows users to identify which part of the system they require assistance with, as well as an accompanying message. Once sent, this message is received by the entire BSI support team which allows it to be handled as quickly as possible by the first available team representative. Also available under the help menu, as well as in various dialogs throughout the system, are links to the BSI users guide. This guide can provide a wealth of information from field definitions to workflow guidelines and can be accessed anywhere within the system that users see a yellow question mark.
The support team can also be reached by phone at 301-628-1BSI from 8:00am – 4:00pm ET to assist with anything from on-the-spot troubleshooting to requests for additional training.
Finally, BSI has recently launched our newest effort in providing support to our users with the BSI Online Community website. Here, BSI users can communicate with others from their organization, administrators can post videos and documentation to be distributed to designated users, group specific forums allow for user Q & A, calendars can help keep groups up-to-date and on track, and email alerts can be set at the user level to track blog/newsletter updates. The community fosters easily accessible guides and information related to BSI, as well as a convenient one-stop site for users to help grow their organizations.
For more information about any of these support options, including information for accessing your group on the BSI support community website, contact the team at 301-628-1BSI (1274), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.