Workflow for collecting a sample and then later collecting its result

Dear Yanokwa

What if you want to update information at the late stage, e.g you collect a sample and you indicate that the sample is collected and the result are pending. So when the results are back it should not be difficult to go back on the sent form an update it accordingly. Some of the data we collect especually in surviellence or outbreak response cannot wait for the results be fore the data is used for action. We need to use the informtion while waiting for the results. Please guide on this we are stuck with and we have no idea how to solve it.

Hi @Thulasizwe_Buthelezi

As I said above you can edit forms on the server side in ODK Central That's the only option. If that's not the option for you maybe you should try to somehow divide your form into two separate sections? It depends on your case. It's not fully clear what you are doing.

@Thulasizwe_Buthelezi how do you identify the samples? Do you have a unique identifier and/or a barcode on them for tracking in the lab?

Here is the most common workflow I've seen used for disease surveillance:

  • Use the target sample size to generate unique IDs before surveillance starts. For example, the ID might be something like YEAR_MONTH_REGION_COUNT so 2023_01_ABC_01, 2023_01_ABC_02, etc. The best generation scheme will depend on your context. MONTH_DATE_DATACOLLECTOR_COUNT is another one I have seen.
  • Generate barcodes from those and print them on (waterproof) labels.
  • Distribute to each person collecting samples or immediately apply to collection containers.
  • The sample collection form prompts the person doing the collection to scan the barcode of the container they're using and enter in information about the place/person the sample is collected from.
  • A separate form is used by lab staff. When lab staff processes a sample, they first scan the barcode, then enter in the result.
  • In analysis, results from the two forms are linked through the barcode.

If your sample size is not pre-determined, you can print a large number of barcodes and use the ones you need. These could use random numbers instead of meaningful values.

If you don't have access to a barcode printer, you can write the code with waterproof ink on the sample containers. Your forms should ask for double entry of the sample id in that case. You may also want to ask for a picture of the container.

For now, my advise would be that you can uniquely identify your samples with a barcode or QR code depending on what is more feasible. Then create 2 separate forms, one for the field during sample collection, the other form for the lab to track the sample flow (dates, etc.,) and the results.

In each form, put a provision to scan the QR/barcode. Once the sample and results data are available to the server, merge the data from both forms by the bar/QR code.

You may need to take caution on the quality of print material for the bar/QR code in case samples go through the cold chain or other difficult environments. You have flexibility to employ different teams to capture field data wrt sample collection and lab data wrt lab results. Otherwise, editing submitted forms is not yet included into the ODK collect app.

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