Client web portals are increasingly popular in B2B environments because of their ability to streamline collaboration and increase customer engagement without compromising security.
While this technology has applications across many industries, it promises significant efficiency benefits to labs that regularly need to securely exchange data with external clients and third-party partners.
Earlier this year, we talked about the general benefits of using a LIMS portal to enable faster, more accurate interaction with your clients — capabilities that will be available to you in the new LabVantage 8.7 Portal.
In this post, we’ll examine four types of real-world request use cases, and discuss how a secure client portal simplifies them all.
Common Types of Submission Requests
Most labs regularly receive submission requests from researchers, physicians, or other external clients. Here are four of the most frequent use cases:
In a textbook request scenario, the client supplies samples and asks your lab to perform an analysis. For example, your lab might receive a can of paint along with a request to perform a chromatographic and spectrometric analysis. While the submitter is responsible for collecting the sample, it’s up to the lab to analyze and return the results.
Submission: Pull Requests
Pull requests take place when the client doesn’t have a sample to send to the lab but instead asks the lab to pull its own sample for analysis. This is essentially the same scenario as a basic submission request, except that the lab is responsible for collecting the sample as well as analyzing and returning the results.
For instance, the client might ask the lab to perform a blood analysis on one or more patients. No samples are labeled or shipped by the client. The submitter, however, will need to provide additional information required by the lab to allocate and access the required biologic samples.
Submission: In-House Sample Requests
In this use case, the sample to be tested is already in the laboratory’s storage. This is like a pull request in that samples are never shipped from the client, but the lab doesn’t have to collect them. Instead, they are pulled from storage for analysis, with the results returned to the client.
In this use case, clients request that testing kits be shipped from the lab’s fulfillment center. Kits may include sample collection consumables like gloves, tubes, containers, reagents, and help to ensure that testing can be conducted using approved and quality-assured kits and methods.
The Value of a Secure Client Portal
Traditionally, most (if not all) stages of these four scenarios have been performed manually. Requests can come from a variety of channels — phone, mail, fax, email, etc. — creating many opportunities for human error and other inefficiencies.
Manually returning data to the client can also be a slow and inefficient process, which can be particularly problematic if it delays patient treatment. Clients also become anxious when they have no convenient way to check on the status of requests, or if the latest results and reports are scattered in multiple channels or information “silos.”
LabVantage Portal eliminates multiple delays and frustrations by:
- enabling external clients and partners to submit requests for testing directly to the LIMS.
- tracking the status of tests in real-time.
- sending reports with the testing data.
While this enables seamless submissions to and communication from the LIMS, there’s no direct interaction with the LIMS itself – which ensures the complete separation and security of data.
In all four of the use cases detailed above, customers can enter their requests directly into the portal. The portal in turn sends the request to the LIMS, eliminating manual transcription errors while immediately creating the project in a centralized location.
All the tools and functions the client needs to complete their work are accessible in one place. If the user is submitting a pull request, the portal interface provides all the necessary additional fields the lab would need to allocate and access the sample. In this way, the portal enables “self-service” submission requests — which can be initiated without the need to contact your team by phone, fax, mail, email, or other channels — freeing up your staff to focus on other tasks.
During analysis, the portal provides the client with the ability to check the status at any time. It also offers a convenient, centralized location where results and reports can be accessed securely as soon as the analysis is complete.
We’re excited to bring this new feature to you as part of LabVantage 8.7. Watch our website or follow us on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) for more details on version 8.7, or contact us to learn how the new portal can be put to work for your lab’s unique needs.