Keep Your Automated Chain of Custody Secure with SampleVision

July 24, 2023

Blog Audit Trail

A secure sample collection process is essential for accurate results and maintaining quality control in any lab. Implementing a secure chain of custody features can have a wide range of benefits for laboratories and research institutions. Chains of custody are intended to document the steps that samples are subjected to, and who performed those steps, from the start of a project through the development and reporting of the findings related to that sample. This includes documentation of how, when, and where a sample was collected; who collected the sample; the conditions under which the sample was transported to the lab; and all testing protocols to which the sample was subjected, including who performed the testing.

The automated audit trail features in SampleVision play a critical role in ensuring that the chain of custody process remains secure and tamper-proof, thereby improving your data integrity. In this blog post, we’ll look at how the built-in features of SampleVision contribute to your chain of custody security.

Automated Chains of Custody Are Secure

Paper chains of custody and audit trails are prone to human error. If your employees have not been thoroughly trained in the proper sample collection procedures, they may omit important information or steps in the process. Even if they’re properly trained, they may have a bad day and forget to document something, resulting in rework or additional sample collection time.

Paper chains of custody or audit trails are inherently corruptible. If the data can be tampered with, it is much harder to defend its security and provenance, as well as the validity of the results. It may be impossible to prove that the data or results have not been tampered with. Any possibility that the data is not accurate can raise questions about the conclusions based on that data.

These drawbacks of paper make an automated system attractive. Features to look for in an automated system include unique sample identification codes, a unique event record identifier, unique user identification codes, barcode integration, documentation of the protocol or instrument involved, and the result.

Different protocols can be used to ensure the integrity of the chain of custody, depending on your laboratory’s workflows. In SampleVision, the unique user identification makes it possible to trace all actions back to a specific user. Access control allows workflows to be configured to limit which users can perform which functions. This ensures the integrity of data transmitted through SampleVision. Access control also ensures that reports generated in SampleVision cannot be tampered with.

The Benefits of Automated Chains of Custody for Sample Collection and Tracking

Automated chains of custody and audit trails use a combination of technology and protocols to create a comprehensive record of all activities related to the sample collection and testing process. Within SampleVision, the audit trail features include documentation of any changes made to the sample or test type. If a user deletes samples or makes changes to the required tests prior to submitting them, those deletions are noted in the SampleVision audit trail.

In addition to maintaining data integrity by reducing tampering and mitigating the risk of errors or accidental omissions, automation can help streamline processes and improve compliance. Automation streamlines processes by reducing manual data entry. This saves time and ensures that sample and test data are available wherever they are needed. Automation may even save costs by reducing the amount of rework that was previously associated with incomplete paperwork or misplaced samples.

Automating the chain of custody and providing a secure audit trail improves compliance and meets regulatory requirements in the sample collection process. It may be possible to configure your LIMS so that testing protocols are stored in the system, making it even easier to adhere to the protocols.

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Choosing the Chain of Custody Automation for Your Lab

Not all automation is created equal, and choosing the right features for your lab can be challenging. Understanding how the SampleVision audit trail features work within the chain of custody can help lab managers and technicians ensure that their overall audit trail will meet the lab’s needs. Your automated system doesn’t have to include all of the possible components and can be configured to work best with your lab’s workflows and processes.

In selecting the components of an automated chain of custody system, consider scalability and flexibility. The system should be able to accommodate future growth of your organization. Ensure that the automated chain of custody you set up can handle your existing workflows as well as any future workflows that might be developed as your business expands.

The Future of Automated Chains of Custody for Sample Collection and Tracking

As technology continues to advance, the ways in which chain of custody and audit trail features will ensure the security of the sample collection and tracking process is likely to evolve. Understanding these trends can help labs stay ahead of the curve and make informed decisions about their technology investments. Some of the emerging technologies that will impact increasing automation in the future include blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI). It’s important to stay current with chain of custody and audit trail technology so that your organization does not lose a competitive edge or, worse, suffer a data breach, by falling behind.

How would automating your chain of custody streamline your lab processes?