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What is an Analytical Module?

Previous users of LIMS-plus will be familiar with Analytical Modules. A Request for analysis on a case is created by selecting the type of Service to be performed. Analytical Modules are assigned to each Service type and they determine what report template and data entry screens are used. Analytical Modules vary by type of analysis and include the general analytical module, blood alcohol, toxicology, controlled substances, DNA, firearms, and serology. In LIMS-plus v3x, these modules were predefined. A new feature of LIMS-plus v5 is that Labs can design Analytical Modules that fit the organization's needs and can modify them if procedures change over time.

In LIMS-plus v5, the Analytical Module defines the workflow that controls how each Request for analysis is processed and the data entry screens used to capture the results. Picture a flowchart that includes tasks and decision points; this is exactly how an Analytical Module is built.

To be able to create or edit an Analytical Module, the user will first need to understand the different parts that make up a module and how they work together. The main parts of an Analytical Module are the workflow, rules, and result entry forms.

Users who will be adding, editing, deleting or viewing Analytical Modules will need to be assigned a Security Role that has the appropriate permissions set. The permissions related to adding, editing, deleting, and viewing Analytical Modules are:

  • Admin - Analytical Module - Add
  • Admin - Analytical Module - Delete
  • Admin - Analytical Module - Edit
  • Admin - Analytical Module - View

Please note that the Admin - Analytical Module - View permission is the permission that determines whether the user is able to access the Analytical Module command on the Admin menu (ON), or sees a grayed out Analytical Module command on the Admin menu (OFF). Users cannot add, delete, or edit Analytical Modules if they are not given the associated View permission.

Access Analytical Modules

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To access the Analytical Module screen, open the Admin menu and select Analytical Module (1).

To edit or view the workflow for an existing module, click the Edit icon (2) corresponding to the module in the grid list.

Export or Print the List of Analytical Modules

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To export the list of Analytical Modules to HTML or Excel, or to print the list, click on the Export icon.

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The list of Analytical Modules will appear in HTML format on a separate web page. From there, click the Print button to print the list, or click the Export to Excel button to perform that task. If the Export to Excel feature is used and the user has Excel installed on the computer, there will be an option to open the list in Excel. Otherwise, the file can be saved as an XMLReport.csv file.

Analytical Module Workflow Designer

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Each Analytical Module will have a name (1) and a workflow (2) that controls how that type of Request for analysis is processed. The workflow is built by dragging and dropping workflow activities (3) where they are to occur in the sequence (2). Some activities have properties (4) that can be set.

NOTE: The Workflow Designer area (the diagram area in the center) can be moved up and down as needed by clicking in a white space on it and dragging and dropping it up or down.

Module Rules

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To edit or view the rules for one of the existing modules, click the Define Rules button on the workflow designer screen.

Rules determine how workflow activities behave under various conditions. For example, Admin Review is required by default. However, conditions could be specified where that isn't necessarily true.

Result Entry Forms

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Result entry forms (called Examination Screens) are related to examination activities. When an examination activity is added to a workflow, the examination type to be used is selected. Each examination type can have two different result entry screens: one to relate the result at the Request level (called the Root Examination Screen) and another if the result is related at the sample or item level (called the Evidence Examination Screen). Each examination type must have at least one of these screens, but can have both.

The actual result entry forms/examination screens are created in the Dynamic User Interface (DUI) Designer.

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