CSols Portable Worksheet Manager™

Most laboratories today make use of instrumentation to carry out all their routine analyses. In many cases there is sufficient demand so that samples can be grouped or queued together to make efficient use of instrument time. As the instrument then produces data in concentrated bursts it makes sense to assign it to a dedicated personal computer to efficiently collect and process the results it produces. However there are a number of circumstances where a dedicated or shared personal computer interface is not appropriate, these include:

• where there is simply no space to place a dedicated PC for every instrument or analyst
• when the volume of testing per instrument is low and so a dedicated computer is not economical
• when testing must be done in a controlled or hazardous setting where instruments cannot be used
• where results are needed immediately from the instrument and a screen readout is sufficient
• where an instrument is not available for that test method and measurements are done manually

In the above circumstances paper worksheets, Excel or lab notebooks are often used. As an alternative to this approach CSols has developed Portable Worksheet Manager to electronically collect results, remove errors in transcription and hence improve overall laboratory efficiency.

Portable Worksheet Manager design

The Portable Worksheet Manager solution consists of ruggedized handheld computers or Personal Data Assistants (PDA) (usually one per analyst) and a hub workstation. The hardware is then combined with software and utilities to help users integrate the system easily into their organization’s routine operation.

Ruggedized PDAs / Handheld Computers

Capturing data as it is measured onto a handheld device rather than recording onto paper or moving to a static workstation offers the following advantages:

• verification of sample, reagent, device or location using built in barcode or RFID reader
• manual data entry at point of testing
• automatic on board calculations
• electronic data capture via Bluetooth or wireless
• immediate transfer to LIMS or IT data system
• improved auditing

CSols used the following criteria to select the right handheld device for the Portable Worksheet Manager solution:

• robust to solvents and chemicals in the laboratory and being dropped
• large screen for easy to use operation with menus and wizards, usable both with finger and pointers
• full support for barcode and RFID tag reading, Bluetooth and wireless connectivity
• uses a common operating system (proprietary or Windows) for portability as new hardware becomes available

After a thorough market review Gotive#s H42 Ruggedized PDA:

and Motion Computing’s F5 Windows 7, ruggedized tablet PC:

 Motion F5 CSols Remote Sampler

were selected and have been successfully deployed in many organizations.

Making life easy for each Analyst

Design of the Remote Sampler software on both the handheld and hub systems has been done in combination with a number of end users to maximize usability and to meet their technical requirements. Key capabilities provided in the Portable Worksheet Manager include:

Simple data entry & sophisticated configuration

Not limited to numeric results a virtual keyboard display can be used to enter all result types. The software configuration may also be easily amended to allow validated entry and calculations to maximize analyst efficiency.

Summary

CSols Portable Worksheet Manager solution is a powerful and flexible system to support the capture of results in any laboratory setting. The system offers the following benefits:

• significant time savings through the ‘one time’ entry of data via keyboard or electronic capture to eliminate all paper records and associated transcription errors
• improved consistency of data treatment with ‘live’ calculations
• fast electronic LIMS upload rather than tedious manual entry
• faster results turnaround than paper methods
• full electronic audit trail of all activity on device including time of result capture and RFID / barcode reading

For further information about Portable Worksheet Manager please feel free to contact CSols via our contact page or just telephone or email: pwm@csols.com.

CSols Ltd. The Heath, Runcorn, Cheshire, WA7 4QX, UK

Tel:   +44 (0) 1928 513535       Fax: +44 (0) 7006 061 106
Web: www.csols.com

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