In LDMS, shipping specimens is the process of transferring specimen information from your local LDMS database to the database of another laboratory. It would be more accurate to say that a shipment in LDMS is actually a shipping file, not a container of specimens. You are shipping a file to another laboratory, and they read the file to add specimens to their LDMS database. It is a parallel process to physically sending specimens to another laboratory.

LDMS can...

  • Prepare a shipping computer file, which must then be sent to the receiving laboratory (on a CD, via FTP, attached to an email, etc); this file contains LDMS data for the specimens.

  • Read a shipping file received from another laboratory, and add those specimens to your LDMS database.

  • Create and print lists to help you pull specimens being shipped from storage, as well as manifest lists to include with the physical shipment.

  • Provide tools to help verify that the physical specimens received match those in the shipping file that was received.

  • Create shipping files for laboratories not using LDMS.

LDMS can not...

  • Transmit shipping files or shipping information directly between laboratories; users must do this manually (e.g. on a CD-RW packed with the specimens).

  • Keep LDMS databases at laboratories in sync. For example, if an aliquot is shipped from one laboratory to another where it is later destroyed, the initial laboratory will still have that specimen marked as "shipped" while the receiving laboratory will have it as "destroyed"; the destroyed status does not get sent back.

  • Assist with actual shipping (printing mailing labels, arranging pick-up, etc); individual laboratories need to develop their own workflows for those processes.

  • Track in-progress shipments or notify the receiving laboratory of incoming specimens.

To ship something in LDMS is a multi-step process that happens at both the sending and receiving laboratory. At a high level, the sending laboratory marks specimens for shipment, then prepares a shipping file and paperwork. They send the shipping file (through some method outside LDMS) to the receiving laboratory, along with the actual specimens. The receiving laboratory imports this data into LDMS and reviews it to make sure the specimens that were expected were actually received.

Figure: Typical workflow for shipping specimens with LDMS. The left side shows the steps performed by the sending laboratory while the right shows the receiving laboratory.