Smartphone saves steps in collecting samples

Published 13.07.2012

Smartphone saves steps collecting samples

Huslab has tested smartphone-assisted collection of urgent samples.

The system sends sample collection requests to laboratory technologists’ smartphones. In addition, sampling requests can be made and confirmations that samples have been taken with the smartphone application can be sent.
The smartphone system displays all relevant sample collection information, such as the patient’s personal data and additional information.
When sample collection requests can be accessed on the smartphone, the laboratory technologist does not need to return to his or her workstation to check whether new requests have arrived.

Two-day training

The pilot project started with a two-day training session, where Mylab Software Specialist Annukka Lahdenpää trained laboratory technologists to use the system and observed laboratory technologists as they actually started using the system. Mylab Product Manager Lari Pelkonen and Software Engineer Tuomas Granlund accompanied Lahdenpää in implementing the system and were available to fix any possible issues right away.

Having a software engineer on standby to correct possible issues and to fulfill customer wishes right away was very important, says Annukka Lahdenpää.

According to Lahdenpää, two days was adequate to learn the system and start using it.

– Training went smoothly and samplers got the hang of the system in no time. The system also received positive feedback right away, Lahdenperä says.

A good start

According to representatives of Huslab, it was helpful to have Lahdenpää as the trainer as she is familiar both with laboratories and software development.

– She could readily identify with laboratory work and our needs, says Assistant Department Nurse Maria Laisi, who participated in the pilot project.

Laisi also reflects positively on how easy the system is to learn:

– For those who have smartphones with touchscreens, learning to use the system was a piece of cake. For others, it took some time to learn how to operate the screen.

Boosts work

The system was piloted by 10 laboratory technologists in all. Based on experiences at Huslab, the smartphone application reduces the number of steps in the process and is likely to save time as well.
In addition, the new application gives a boost to collecting samples:

– Collecting samples is sometimes considered a routine. The new application makes it more rewarding to be the first one to pick up a new request, Laisi says.

However, there are areas of the application that need further development:

– Urgent requests should be easier to distinguish from others. In addition, the need to cancel an appointment may arise if the patient is not present, for example. It would be handy to be able to include the reason for canceling the collection of the sample.

Laisi hopes that after some fine-tuning, the system might be taken into more extensive use as early as the fall.

Text Hanna Hyvärinen, photos Mauri Ratilainen

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