Workflows - Overview

Workflows are the visual representation of the activities that lab staff perform everyday, and are a unique feature of Ovation. Workflows give a whole new level of insight into lab process, so everyone on the lab's staff knows the progress of batches of samples through the lab and what task needs to be performed next. The collection of workflows used by a lab are totally custom to that lab, which means the workflows that you see aren't necessarily the same workflows that staff at another lab interact with, or that you may use for another test. Nonetheless, there are certain patterns that Ovation takes advantage of that are consistent across most, if not all, workflows, and we'll describe those here.

Importantly, a single workflow doesn't necessarily represent a sample's entire journey from accessioning to the final data or report–a sample may need to repeat an entire workflow, or just go through a single tube repeat after going through the primary workflow first. Ovation makes this possible in a manner that's seamless for lab staff by adding samples to "queues", or group of samples that all await processing in a similar manner. In this way, lab staff can still create batches of samples that are all queued up to go through the same workflow, but each sample can take its own journey with minimal coordination on the part of the lab when diverging paths are necessary. For example, when accessioning occurs, Ovation automatically knows which workflow to queue a sample for based on the requisition template that the accessioner filled out. When lab staff decide that there are enough samples in a queue to create a batch and justify starting a new workflow, lab staff can choose the samples to include in the batch (we recommend choosing the oldest samples first, and in fact automatically order and select the oldest in the queue) and start the workflow. Lab staff progress through workflow activities, gathering data along the way, and we create an internal record for each sample–what activities they've gone through, data from those activities, what time, and who performed the activity. The last steps in the workflow are quality control, which is where lab staff members make the decision about whether the sample data is suitable to send off for reporting, or whether the sample has to be "requeued", or sent to a different workflow that will ultimately provide the data necessary for complete, accurate results. Lab staff can then start those other workflows, and Ovation tells them the samples that need to go through them.

Let's take a look at starting a workflow and going through the steps.

First, visit the workflows section of Ovation, where you'll see all the workflows and their completion status. Clicking on any of these workflows allows the user to rejoin it and keep working through it. Instead, let's start a new one by clicking the green plus sign button in the top right corner.

We'll be given a window that allows the user to choose the workflow they'd like to start (most labs will have several). Click "Create". You'll be taken directly to the new workflow you've created. Ovation will automatically create an identifier for the workflow, which you can see in the top header above the workflow diagram.

While this isn't true for every workflow, your first step will likely be to create the batch of samples that will go through the workflow. Click on the circle labeled "Create batch" to start creating the batch.

Here, all the sample queued up for the primary workflow of this particular test are listed out, in order of the date they were received, and already selected. The maximum number for a batch for this particular test is listed on the top left. If you'd like to remove one of the pre-selected samples from the batch and replace it with another one, simply click the pre-selected sample (it will no longer be highlighted in gray), and select another sample. To set the batch, click "Submit". You will stay on the same screen, but now your choices will change to "Resubmit" or "Return to Workflow". Choose "Return to Workflow". 

Back on the workflow, you'll be able to start the next activity (indicated as "available to perform" by the green border). Also, you'll notice  that the Batch Creation activity is now green, indicating that it's complete.

Now you're free to progress through the workflow activities. As mentioned, each lab's workflow, and even the series of workflow that a sample may go through on its journey, is made up of different activities. So we won't go too far in depth into activities themselves. Take a look at some of our other help documentation that deals with specific, common activities if you have questions about completing a particular one.

Despite the differences in workflows, almost all of them end in some kind of Quality Control (QC) step, in which a member of lab staff reviews the results and signs off on them before they are submitted. In Ovation's case, QC provides an additional action: samples that have incomplete data, or which fail to meet quality standards set by the lab, can be requeued into another workflow where additional activities can be performed, or repeated, or the same workflow repeated entirely based on the judgement of the reviewer.

Below is one such QC step, in which we've parsed the results provided in the previous step and show the assays for each sample. A lab staff member can review these assays and ensure that the data meets the lab's quality standards. If it doesn't, the staff member can indicate if the sample is requeued for a single tube repeat, to gather more data on one or two assays, or repeat the original workflow with a second swab provided in the requisition if the number of assay failures warrants it.   

Once this QC is complete, your workflow is complete! It's time to start a new workflow and keep those samples moving through your lab!

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