Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $250,000)
Maryland’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s toxicology laboratory is required to transition from accreditation by the American Board of Forensic Toxicology to accreditation based on the ISO/IEC 17025 standards. The ISO/IEC 17025 standards have a more rigorous documentation requirement relative to the ABFT accreditation standards. Current laboratory documentation practices are solely paper based, placing a large burden on lab staff to generate and maintain laboratory documentation.
The Governor's Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services is the State Administering Agency for the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program. Given the extensive documentation requirements needed to meet ISO/IEC 17025 standards, it is critical that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) purchase and implement a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) to ensure ongoing accreditation. A LIMS will allow OCME to produce and maintain the documentation required for ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation, minimizing the impact of the new accreditation standards on turnaround time for toxicology analyses.
In addition to ensuring accreditation, a LIMS program will assist in developing and implementing strategies specifically intended to improve critical infrastructure within the OCME. The program will improve efficiency and address needs inclusive of chain of custody records, workflow automation, improved data security and long term data storage.