Thanks to collaboration between three universities of applied sciences and Mylab, many future bio-analysts will know how to use a laboratory information system even before they start their internships.
In March, students from the Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) were entering underlying data into the new My+® laboratory information system for universities of applied sciences. The plan was to run a simulation that imitates real life, where third year bio-analytics students act as laboratory managers, second year students act as laboratory staff and first year students act as the patients. However, the simulation had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The students continued working on one part of the project remotely: creating instructions for the system in preparation for the autumn semester.
A student who has used My+® before during an internship is guiding the project work. Creating these instructions is a good way to learn how to use the system and how it can be utilized in education, TAMK bio-analytics teacher Ulla Kähkönen believes.
The idea to develop an academy version of My+® was sparked a few years ago in a conversation at a trade fair. Three universities of applied sciences joined forces in the development work: TAMK from Tampere, Savonia from Eastern Finland and Metropolia from the Helsinki metropolitan area. ICT designer Juha Laitinen coordinated the joint meetings and had already proposed the idea of developing a modern cloud service system for schools to Mylab.
In the late spring of 2019, we got the academy My+® application service to work. We hooked up some analysers in June and trained the main users of the system in the autumn. At Metropolia, the analysers will be installed later because of the move, says Juuso Koivula from Mylab, who is managing the implementation project.
Pens and papers away
So far, bio-analysts graduating from TAMK have mainly received theoretical education about laboratory information systems. Exercises were done with pen and paper and test results were viewed on analyser screens. Savonia had Mylab’s Multilab laboratory information system, but as it became outdated and its use waned, they hoped for a more modern system that would serve educational needs more effectively.
In today’s laboratory, you cannot manage without a connection to the laboratory information system. Now, the school can simulate real life so that our students will be better prepared for internships and life, says bio-analytics lecturer Mirja Saukkonen from Savonia.
Students have an opportunity to try out how to make requests, how to send results and so on. The whole process feels more real, colleague Sanna Kolehmainen adds.
The schools have agreed on some common principles for use of the system and reference values among other things. Real patient information will not be uploaded into the system.
The idea is that students create a patient in the system and use the same patient information on different courses and throughout the entire process from pre-analysis to post-analysis, Saukkonen and Kolehmainen explain.
Kähkönen finds it great that, with the aid of My+®, students can be shown and taught in a very tangible way the role that the information system plays in the laboratory. She notes that the work of a bio-analyst has changed in recent years.
The use of auto-validation is increasing. The machine analyses the information and validates it automatically if it is within the given limiting values. The laboratory technician only picks out the results that need special interpretation or reruns. My+®models this procedure.
Eyes on the mobile future of sampling
The system will be updated a couple of times a year so that it remains at approximately the same level as the version in laboratories and hospitals.
According to Kähkönen, TAMK students welcomed the new system. They have found it user-friendly and easy to use.
Building a system provides good learning experiences. The students see everything that is needed for the laboratory information system to function correctly and efficiently. Someone must enter the correct values and ensure that they remain up to date. In working life, this might remain unseen.
Savonia hopes that at some point, the schools could have the My+® mobile sampling application as well and that the academy systems could be connected to other systems, such as patient information systems.
This is a valuable experience for the system provider as well because it teaches them about the needs of organisations like our one. The project has promoted cooperation between different schools on many levels. Mylab has a wealth of technical expertise and practical skill. We give thanks and tip our hats to Mylab for setting up the system, Laitinen says.
We have received the system as well as good training, so we have the keys now and only need to implement all that we have planned, Kolehmainen sums up.