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What are the Analytical Module Workflow Activities in LIMS-plus v5?

Analytical modules can be created using 19 different workflow activities. This topic covers the general overview of each available workflow activity.

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 the Analytical Module Screen and the Workflow Designer

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

Click the Add Analytical Module button (2) to open the workflow Designer.

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The workflow activities discussed in this topic are located along the left side of the Designer. It may be necessary to scroll down the list to see the remaining workflow activities.

Add a Workflow Activity to the Workflow Design

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To add a workflow activity to the workflow design, drag and drop the activity from the list on the left onto the design space in the center.

As the workflow is built, it will not make sense for some activities to be placed before or after others. The analytical module designer will not allow an invalid workflow to be built. As activities are dragged and dropped onto the design space, they can only be placed in a position that displays a green dot.

Delete/Remove a Workflow Activity from the Designer Workflow

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To delete or remove a workflow activity from the workflow in the Designer window, select the workflow activity by left-clicking on it once (it should have a black border around it) and then press the Delete key on the keyboard. This will remove the activity from the workflow.

Rename Activities

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During the design process, activities have default names that are assigned automatically. However, the name of a workflow activity will be presented to users once a Request is created on a case using a Service that is related to an Analytical Module. Therefore, it would be helpful to users if the activities in each workflow had names that made sense.

To rename an activity, select it in the workflow design area and change the Name in the properties box.

Abort Activity

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Abort Activity Properties:

  • None

The Abort Activity will abort the current workflow activity, usually as part of an if-else event. For example, one activity may be set to occur at a certain point in the workflow, but there may be two outcomes from the activity - one where the workflow continues and one where the current activity is aborted and the next activity begins. Please also see the If Else Activity.

The Abort Activity has no properties that can be set. A number will appear in parenthesis after "Abort Activity" (see image above) based on the number of times the activity was dragged and dropped onto the workflow.

Add Request Activity

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The Add Request Activity adds another Service to the workflow. The Service is selected from the Service Name picklist in the properties.

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Add Request Activity Properties:

  • Name (textbox)
  • Service Name (picklist)

Admin Review Activity

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The Admin Review Activity adds an Admin Review to the workflow. The Fail Notification and Notification Name (for Pass) properties are selected from picklists and the remaining fields are set to True or False. For example, if the Admin Reviewer must also review all attachments and reports, these properties should be set to True. If the Admin Reviewer's signature is required, that property should be set to True.

The Is Releasable property relates to the Report Releasable Milestone. Report Releasable indicates that all analytical processing and reviewing on a Request is complete. If changes are needed on the findings or report, only someone with high-level security access to LIMS-plus v5 can remove this Milestone. If the Admin Review Activity is the releasable activity for this workflow, set the property to True.

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Admin Review Activity Properties:

  • Name (textbox)
  • Attachment Review Required (True/False)
  • Is Releasable (True/False)
  • Assignment Notification (picklist)
  • Fail Notification (picklist)
  • Complete Notification (picklist)
  • Reports Review Required (True/False)
  • Signature Required (True/False)

Alert Message Activity

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The Alert Message Activity sends an alert message to users belonging to a specific Security Role when this point is reached in the workflow. Alert messages scroll along the top of the Dashboard (home page) and appear in the Alerts column on the Dashboard.

The properties for this activity include the activity name, the actual alert message that users will be given, and the Security Role the message should be sent to when this activity is reached in the workflow.

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Alert Message Activity Properties:

  • Name (textbox)
  • Message (alert message textbox)
  • Lab Role (Security Role picklist)

Assign Request Activity

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The Assign Request Activity is the step in the workflow where a Request is assigned to analyst. For example, in the DNA Analysis Analytical Module, the first step in the workflow is to assign the Request to an analyst.

The only properties for this activity are the Name and the True/False option related to whether or not the analyst should be alerted when he or she is assigned a Request.

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Assign Request Activity Properties:

  • Name (textbox)
  • Alert Analyst (True/False)
  • Assignment Notification (picklist)

Draft Complete Activity

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This activity signifies that findings have been entered and all analyses are complete. This is usually the analyst's final step in processing their portion of a Request.

Properties for this field include the activity Name and True/False options for whether or not an attachment review is required at this step in the workflow, whether or not this is a releasable activity, and whether or not a signature is required when this Milestone is met.

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Draft Complete Properties:

  • Name (textbox)
  • Attachment Review Required (True/False)
  • Is Releaseable (True/False)
  • Signature Required (True/False)

Examination Activity

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The Examination Activity can be used in a workflow for one or more examinations - drag and drop one Examination Activity for each examination that needs to be performed. See also the Parallel Examinations Activity.

The first properties to set for an Examination Activity are the name (1) of the activity (which should be descriptive and related to the actual examination that will be performed) and the exam description (2). The examination type field contains a picklist, from which current examination types can be selected (3). If the exam type is not listed, a new examination type can be created and added by clicking on the ellipsis button next to the examination type picklist (4).

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Examination Activity Properties:

  • Name (textbox)
  • Exam Description (textbox)
  • Examination Type (picklist and ellipsis button)
  • Test Information (ellipsis button)

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The Add Examination Type window that opens when the exam type ellipsis button is clicked includes a field for the examination type name, a picklist for the examination screen root, and another picklist for the evidence examination screen. To generate XML code for use with instruments, click the Generate XML button. Click the OK button after adding the examination type information.

Back in the properties for the Examination Activity on the workflow, test information also has an ellipsis button (5) for test details. Click that ellipsis button to open the Test Details window:

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Select the examination test from the picklist and the customized screen for that exam will appear below the Select Test field:

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Since this is a customizable form, the information shown in the image above will not correspond with the Test Details windows used in other Labs. In any case, fill out the information and click the OK button when finished. This will conclude the properties for the Examination Activity.

If Else Activity

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Properties:

  • Name (textbox)

The If Else Activity can be used when an activity is placed in a workflow that has two different outcomes. The activity is placed in the workflow first, then the If Else Activity is inserted immediately below it. In the If Else Activity, the left side represents TRUE and the right side represents FALSE. For example, if an examination activity is performed and the results are positive (true), a message alert could be sent to a Lab Role, and if the results are negative (false), a different alert message could be sent to the same or different Lab Role.

During the workflow process, after the Activity for the true or false result is completed, the workflow will continue on to the next Activity listed underneath the If Else Activity.

To insert an In Else Activity into the workflow, drag and drop the If Else Activity (1) onto the designer. It will change appearance to become an If Else box (2). Next, drag and drop two or more activities into the If Else box on the true (left) and false (right) sides. The properties for each activity will need to be set individually.

Other Review Activity

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Sometimes an additional review, such as a verification step, needs to be performed before the next step in a workflow is reached. The Other Review Activity can be placed in the workflow and its properties set as needed.

The activity Name and Review Description can be typed in the respective property textboxes. True/False options are available for whether or not this Other Review Activity should require an attachment review, a report review, and/or a signature, and whether or not the report reviewer is also the Draft Complete reviewer. The Milestone, Notification Name, and actual Fail Notification to be sent need to be selected from the appropriate picklists in the properties.

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Properties:

  • Name (textbox)
  • Attachment Review Required (True/False)
  • Milestone (picklist)
  • Notification Name (picklist)
  • Report Reviewer as Draft Complete Reviewer (True/False)
  • Report Review Required (True/False)
  • Review Description (textbox)
  • Signature Required (True/False)
  • Fail Notification (picklist)

Parallel Examinations

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Parallel Examinations are two or more examinations that need to be performed before the next Milestone is reached, but do not need to be performed in any special order in relation to each other (e.g., one type of examination can be performed either before or after another type, just as long as both examinations are performed before the next step in the workflow, whatever that step might be).

To insert a Parallel Examination into the workflow, drag and drop the Parallel Examinations activity (1) onto the designer. It will change appearance to become a Parallel Examinations box (2). Next, drag and drop two or more examinations (or other related activities) into the Parallel Examinations box. The properties for each activity will need to be set separately.

During the workflow process, the analyst will be able to choose which of the parallel activities to perform first, but all of the parallel activities will need to be finished before the next Milestone can be reached.

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Parallel Examinations Properties:

  • Name (textbox)

Produce Attachment Activity

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If an attachment should be produced during a certain point in a workflow, the Produce Attachment Activity can be used. This activity has textboxes in the properties for the name and description of the activity and the message prompt that the user will see at this point in the workflow. The report template is selected from the template picklist, the export option is selected for the file type, and the file export path is typed into the property textbox.

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Produce Attachment Activity Properties:

  • Name (textbox)
  • Attachment Description (textbox)
  • Message Prompt (textbox)
  • Template (picklist)
  • Send To iResults (True/False)
  • Export options (picklist - PDF, RPT, CSV, XLS, TXT)
  • File Export Path (textbox)
  • Complete Notification (picklist)
  • Attach Report (True/False)

Repeatable Result Activity

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Properties:

  • Name (textbox)
  • Screen Type (picklist and ellipsis button)
  • Exam Description (textbox)
  • Repeatable Exam Screen (picklist and ellipsis button)
  • Repetition Count (textbox for number)
  • Comparison Formula (picklist)
  • Apply On (picklist)

Repeatable Result Activities can be used for examinations that need to be repeated multiple times. Using a blood alcohol analysis for an example, an If Else Activity can be used with one examination for the False side and a Repeatable Result Activity for the True side. In the Repeatable Result Activity properties, the Name (1), Exam Description (2), and Repetition Count (3) are textboxes. Screen Type can be chosen from a picklist (4) or added manually by clicking on the ellipsis button (5) and filling out the information. After closing the box, select the new Screen Type from the picklist (4). Repeat this step for the Repeatable Exam Screen (6). The Comparison Formula (7) and Apply On (8) properties also have picklists.

Send Mail Activity

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Properties:

  • Name (textbox)
  • Notification Name (picklist)
  • Send To (picklist - Assigned Analyst, Reviewer for AdminReview, Reviewer for TechReview)

The Send Mail Activity can be inserted into almost any point in a workflow. This activity sends an email to either the assigned analyst, the Admin Reviewer, or the Tech Reviewer. The Notification needs to be created prior to it being available for selection in the Notification Name picklist, however. The Send To property picklist is where the recipient is selected.

Set Readonly Activity

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Properties:

  • None

The Set Readonly Activity sets a position in the workflow where the information can only be read, not entered or changed. For example, if reviewers are only to be allowed read access and not have the ability to overwrite something, the Set Readonly Activity could be placed right above the review step in the Analytical Module workflow.

This activity has no properties to be set. The number in parenthesis after the activity name is based on the number of times the activity was dragged and dropped onto the workflow design space.

Static Report Activity

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Properties:

  • Name (textbox)
  • Attachment Description (textbox)

A Static Report is a report that is usually generated only once. A final report is an example of a Static Report. If a Static Report is generated again, it is saved as another version of the original Static Report.

The Static Report Activity is where, at that point in a workflow, the user will generate a Static Report and attach it to the case. The properties for this activity are Name and an Attachment Description, both of which are entered into the corresponding textboxes.

Tech Review Activity

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Properties:

  • Name (textbox)
  • Attachment Review Required (True/False)
  • Notification Name [Pass] (picklist)
  • Percentage Review Required (textbox for number)
  • Report Review Required (True/False)
  • Signature Required (True/False)
  • Is Releasable (True/False)
  • Fail Notification (picklist)

Technical Reviews are peer reviews of the technical results of an analysis. A user cannot Tech Review his or her own work.

The properties for a Tech Review Activity include textboxes for the activity name and the number for a percentage of review required. Whether or not an attachment or report review is required, a signature is required, or the Admin Review is the releasable activity is set by selecting True or False in the properties. The Notification name (for Pass) and the Fail Notification name are selected from the provided picklists.

To Do Activity

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Properties:

  • Name (textbox)
  • To Do Description (textbox)

If there is an activity for an analyst to perform that is outside of the normal LIMS-plus v5 workflow (making copies of a case file, for example), a To Do Activity can be placed into the workflow to remind the user to perform that additional step. The properties for a To Do Activity are the activity name and description, both of which are entered into the corresponding textboxes.

Wait Until Activity

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Properties:

  • Name (textbox)

The Wait Until Activity can be placed in a workflow where a user needs to wait for something to happen before he or she can continue on in the workflow. The only property for this activity is the Name property; a descriptive name should be used so that it is clear what the user is waiting for before continuing.

Wait XDays Activity

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Properties:

  • Name (textbox)
  • Days (textbox for number)

The Wait XDays Activity sets a certain number of days for the user to wait before the next activity is performed or the next Milestone is reached. The name of the activity and the number of days to wait are the properties for this activity.

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