Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $150,000)
Over the past several years, the Hennepin County Forensic DNA Lab has upgraded production capacity through process improvements and automation, however, the laboratory still relies on the generation of paper case files for documentation and storage of results.
The production method of semi-automated batch processing of forensic DNA samples is significantly more efficient than single case processing, but it creates large paper files of case notes, extraction forms, equipment logs, specimen EPGs, statistical interpretations and CODIS upload information.
The laboratory commonly sees errors of omission with paper- based forms and spend an inordinate amount of time investigating and correcting human induced paper based errors. Additionally, case file reviews run the risk of focusing on the quality of the paper rather than the quality of the DNA product.
The laboratory objective is to increase case productivity and sample quality by eliminating the wasteful and error prone practice of paper casefile documentation. In order to accomplish this goal the lab will use funds from this award to install a system for electronically capturing the majority of all of the existing notes, forms, spreadsheets, and logbooks used in the DNA Lab. A method that converts the labs existing paper based forms into applications that can be installed on a mobile device is the preferred solution. In this way, the electronic forms can be completed in the wet lab and then transferred to the LIMS for review, storage and retrieval.