Rules – Using Persistent Data Elements

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It is sometimes necessary to recall or utilize information from a previous result or sample when writing rules. For example, Hepatitis testing typically requires the review of the results from three runs to make a final determination. It may also be desirable to evaluate whether a test was rerun.

This article will explore how Instrument Manager™ (IM) accommodates this type of workflow. First, it is important to understand that there are three categories of data elements within IM: Patient, Specimen, and Test. There are also general data elements that are not explored in this article.

Persistent data elements store data and may be recalled from run to run. Patient and Specimen data elements are described as persistent because IM stores the data and recalls it each time that test is processed on the same Patient or Specimen.

Test-level data elements tend to not be persistent. That data comes into IM and is not remembered the next time that test is processed on that same patient or specimen. However, there are some exceptions to that:

  • In older versions of IM, there were only two persistent test-level data elements available that were repurposed from their original use: Previous Test Dilution or Previous Test Error.
  • Newer versions of IM have a much wider array of available data elements that can be used to store and remember data from run to run. There are 20 Patient and Specimen User Fields (15 regular fields and five indexed fields) that may be used to store data from run to run and specimen to specimen. Additionally, there are 5 Test User Persistent Fields available. Each of these data elements may be set via rules to store the desired content to be recalled later.
    Storing run 1 for Hepatitis testing to be evaluated later
    If: ( {Test Resulted} “HepB1” )

    Then: {Add Test} “HepB” {AND} {Set} {Test User Persistent Field 01} {On Test} “HepB” = {Result} {On Test} “HepB1”
  • There are also several other fields that are set by IM that can be used to recall previous information. Those include Previous Run Result 1-3 and Previous Patient Result 1-3. These fields are automatically populated and recalled by IM if appropriate for the test that is being resulted. These fields cannot be manipulated with rules but often contain the information that rule writers leverage without having to write rules to set or recall that information.
    Evaluating if a PLT was rerun
    If: (( {Test Resulted} “PLT” ) {AND} ( {Previous Run Result 1} {On Test} “PLT” {NOT} = “” ))
    Then: {Set} {Hold Test Flag} {On Test} “PLT” = “RERUN”

NOTE: To ensure that the rules function as intended, it is critical that rules be validated by the user prior to being moved into the Live Rule set and put into practice in the laboratory setting. Refer to the Instrument Manager Rules Manual (included with Instrument Manager software) for additional recommendations regarding testing.

Data Innovations’ Technical and Professional Services team is available to assist customers with specific rules development and/or evaluation. For more information, please contact or call 802.658.2850.
For syntax assistance or minor rule questions, please contact support at or call 802.658.1955. Support will evaluate if further services are required.

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