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Today’s law enforcement organizations need more than a LIMS. Historically, Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) were designed for testing labs. A conventional LIMS, for example, could be utilized to test water samples or raw materials in a manufacturing process. Forensic organizations require a case-focused system that encompasses the full evidentiary life cycle. For example, in the market, there are stand-alone quality management systems. A better approach is to employ a system that incorporates quality features to support compliance with ISO17025 and other regulatory bodies.
Some other functions that move a solution from LIMS to a full Forensic Information Management System are property management, crime scene work, medical examiner, external user portal, and forensic intelligence. Evidence is typically stored in a property warehouse until it is required for testing and then until disposition. Crime scene investigators must be able to quickly enter information and begin the critical chain of custody process. External forensic stakeholders must be able to submit evidence to the lab process, check the status of that evidence, and receive reports without having to navigate the entire LIMS system. Forensic data is kept separate from the case from which it originated. Why not make the most of your data by analyzing cross-case data to identify trends that can be used for predictive and prescriptive intelligence?
The technology at the core of the platform is a key consideration. The solution should be browser agnostic and cyber-secure. Finally, it is crucial that the platform an organization chooses can support them for years to come.
As an attendee, you will learn more about:
- Why you need a forensic information management system versus a generic LIMS
- What functions should you expect in a forensic information management system
- How can you be confident the underlying technology is rigorous enough to support your operation for years to come
Dr. Robin MacDonald
Senior Product Manager
Director, Government and Forensic Solutions
Hello everyone and welcome to land managers ask the expert webinar series. My name is Mary Beth de Donna and I'll be moderating today's discussion. forensic information management should be more than a lens. We like our webinars to be very interactive, so we encourage you to submit your questions to us at any point during today's webinar. Our speakers will address these questions during the question and answer session following the presentation. To ask a question or leave a comment, simply type your query into the q&a box located on the right hand side of your screen. We will try to address as many questions as possible during our time together. But if we happen to run out of time, I will forward any unanswered questions to today's speakers and they can respond to you directly if possible.
I would like to remind you that this webinar recording will be available on demand shortly following this presentation. So please watch for an email from land manager and how to access this free video once it's available. I would also like to extend a special thank you to our sponsor lead advantage. Their support allows lead manager to offer these webinars free of charge to our readers. And now I'd like to introduce Dr. Robin McDonald, who will tell us more about this webinar and introduce our other speaker. Robin, thanks for joining us. Welcome everyone and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to join us today to learn more about how a forensic information management system should be more than a Lim's.
I'm Robin McDonald and I'm here with my colleague, Mr. Bob Hilbert. Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I earned my PhD in inorganic chemistry from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. After graduation, I was hired by the Broward sheriff's office Crime Laboratory in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where I analyzed trace evidence cases. After about six years, I was promoted to criminalist unit manager, and at various times I managed firearms, trace evidence, drug chemistry and question documents. During my time with the sheriff's office, I also had the opportunity to become an ISO 1702 Five technical assessor. Since 2010, I've worked as a product manager in the forensic limbs industry, and that has provided me the opportunity to visit crime labs all over the world. I'm currently employed by left Vantage solutions. Next I'd like to let my colleague Bob introduce himself.
Thank you, Robin. Hi, everyone. I am Bob Silva, and I'm the Director of Government and forensic services at lab Vantage. I've been here for about a year and a half. Prior to that, I began my career as an analytical chemist at two different department of energy sites spanning 16 years. During that time, I got an MBA in information systems, and quickly became responsible for every lab instrument that had a computer connected to it, because I was the only one that knew anything about them. So that was a natural progression into Lim's, which I did as a system administrator as those facilities, and then move to the vendor side of the equation, and have designed sold and implemented the systems ever since primarily focused on forensic labs. And I've had the opportunity to visit many forensic labs around the world over the past 16 years.
Let's talk about key takeaways from this webinar before we dig in, to anything specific. All of you have probably heard about limbs, or lab information management systems. It's commonly known that they manage samples, and the associated data, allow for QC and reporting, and sometimes provide KPIs or key performance indicators. That is all useful and necessary, but it's void of some key requirements pertinent to the forensic world. We will talk about that and essentially define what a forensic information management system is by detailing the additional functions provided by a comprehensive fims. Lastly, it's important that your fims is not static, it must grow as you grow. And growth might include numbers of system users, number and complexity of examinations performed and changing QA requirements.
Robert and I both come from a product management perspective. And we both actually have certifications there. That experience has taught us to stop using the old model when building a system, which was sit down with a bunch of developers and analysts and brainstorm what is probably needed. Then take it to the market and see what they think through
went on the wall and see what sticks. Effective Product Marketing teaches you to learn about the challenges being experienced by your potential clients so that the solutions, not just systems are built in a manner that is intentionally targeted at those problem areas. Without approach, most of what you create actually does stick on the proverbial wall. One challenge in forensics when faced with a traditional Lim's is that they are entirely focused on samples, receipt, storage, data generation reporting, and metrics are all focused on samples. As we know in forensics, there is a case that is the hub of all information gathering and investigation. And the lab activities as well as the other areas of the operation, such as crime scene must have all data associated with the related case.
Critical forensic quality requirements are also often not met. With traditional limbs, we must be able to constrain and check on certain steps in the process to be sure that these requirements are being met, and consequently facilitating the labs necessary quality related certifications. Three additional problem areas are often manifest with a traditional lens.
Number one, the operation and even individual users must access multiple systems to get evidence and data through the seemingly disparate organization entities such as crime scene lab, property and evidence management and medical examiner office. Secondly, such multi system usage implies painfully Of course, that the same data must be entered a second time. Yes, sometimes this can be mitigated by the creation of otherwise unnecessary interfaces between these systems that are costly and complex.
Lastly, the chain of custody process is not digitally contiguous, from start to finish, from crime scene through other areas until final disposition. This is at best inconvenient, and at worse, a risk to the legitimacy of the chain, which can have disastrous consequences in court proceedings. Another significant shortcoming of traditional limbs is that L E O's. And investigators cannot simply independently and quickly enter and get the status of their case and evidence in the system. The absence of a portal means they must learn the workings of the larger and more complex limbs, and if they cannot get access to it, and it also costs more than portal access. Lastly, a comprehensive fims will give you the ability to do more with your data. The data is always case centric, and it's naturally only looked at from the perspective of the case being investigated. The opportunity to look across the data for many cases is lost. I'm now going to transition back to Dr. McDonald as she starts to talk about some of these specific fims considerations.
Thank you Bob.
There are many laboratory information management systems better known as limbs on the market. So why is it important that your organization choose a purpose built forensic information management system? The limps products that were developed for traditional laboratories in industries such as pharma, environmental, and manufacturing to name a few are sample centric as Bob mentioned, the nature of the sample will determine what tests are to be run on that sample. And that in turn determines which departments of the laboratory the sample will be sent to.
A system designed to work in forensic laboratories, instead needs to be case centric. Criminal cases have packages. Those packages contain evidence also referred to as exhibits. The nature of the exhibit does not dictate exactly what tests will be conducted. For example, if a firearm is submitted to the laboratory, it may need DNA or latent print services. Even after the firearm is received in the firearms unit. It may need different examinations depending on the crime permitted, for example, a serial number restoration a distance determination, a trigger pool or Niven comparison.
This case driven focus is the fundamental difference between a forensic Lim's or fims, and a more generic laboratory information management system. Forensic investigations do not begin and end in the laboratory. There's a lot going on in the image on the slide, but let's take a moment to walk through it.
You can see here on the top left, we have law enforcement officers. They represent the officer out on patrol who may collect evidence in cases that do not warrant a crime scene unit response. Depending on the policy of the organization, that evidence will either be taken to a property and evidence storage facility or to the laboratory it's possible that some exhibits will be sent to property and others will be taken directly to the laboratory.
On the top right, we see a crime scene unit. The crime scene investigators may send some of the evidence to property, and they may send some of the evidence to the laboratory. If a death is involved, the medical examiner may respond to the scene to examine and transport the decedent over to the medical examiner's office. At the medical examiner's office, additional evidence may be collected and sent to the lab. So we've just discussed three different paths that evidence might take to get to the laboratory.
After the examination is complete, the evidence might be sent back to a property facility that's associated with the same agency as the laboratory or it might be transferred back to the submitting agency. Evidence can also be transferred from the property facility or laboratory to and from the courtroom as part of the judicial process. And then finally, at the close of the case, which may result from a case being adjudicated or the statute of limitations running out. The evidence will be dispositioned. This responsibility in most organization falls on the property facility. The evidence may be destroyed, returned to its owner converted to police use, or in some cases even auctioned off to raise money for law enforcement.
So given the interconnected nature of all of these different entities, it's easy to see why it's beneficial to have one comprehensive system that manages the case and evidence beyond the laboratory. Therefore, we believe the turn limbs li EMS doesn't really capture what many organizations really need. Instead, forensic information management system would be more accurate. Now you might be thinking, what if my organization doesn't do everything on this slide. Ideally, the forensic information management system should be flexible enough to let you use just the applicable functionality. And they should have a licensing mechanism that permits the cost of the system to reflect that.
The laboratory certainly is the sweet spot of the standard Lim's products out on the market. But as mentioned earlier, if the Lim's was not built with forensic organizations in mind, it will likely require a fair amount of customization to work effectively in the forensic environment. If it's been built with forensic clients in mind, it will follow the basic workflow shown on this slide and accommodate the many activities required at each step. If the evidence has already been pre logged in a portal, when it arrives in central receiving the evidence technician may simply need to scan a barcode and all the pertinent information will be populated.
Otherwise, the evidence technician will enter the information manually. Much of that information that's entered at this point is case oriented, which again underscores the importance of having a system designed for forensics. The information captured would include at a minimum things like the investigative agency, the investigative agencies case identifier, the crime that was committed information about the packages that are being submitted as well as the contents of those packages, or the exhibits in other words, the points of contact for the case, as well as the suspects and victims who are involved in the case.
After documenting the needed information, the evidence technician will place the evidence in a secured location until an examiner is ready to analyze the evidence. This person to storage transfer from the evidence technician to that storage location should be treated as a chain of custody transaction.
The next step in the process is the work will be assigned in some disciplines such as firearms, latent prints and question documents to name a few. The case and evidence in that unit may be assigned to a single person who carries out the analytical process from end to end.
In other disciplines, such as DNA and toxicology, the examinations may be conducted by batch across cases by the whole team, wherein different individuals may carry out different parts of the analytical process. For example, a senior toxicologist in the toxicology department obviously, might assign what tests need to be conducted on various exhibits. And it may be some technicians who actually see what tests are needed and take out loquats and put those Alec Watts onto an instrument and then it may be someone else entirely, who interprets the results.
So that is a more batch oriented process. Another difference between forensic analyses and analyses in other industries is that for many forensic examinations, the analyst needs to make an interpretation of the data when generating their final report. Whereas in other industries, it's very common that the tests conducted is to simply measure a specific analyte. And that's reported out in a very structured way, typically in the form of a certificate of analysis.
This type of reporting does not have the flexibility required for many forensic disciplines. Last but not least, the chain of custody is critical in a forensic organization. In a generic limbs, what is often termed chain of custody is really just a check in and check out process that does not require electronic signatures. This would not meet the rigorous expectations of how evidence is to be handled, and could be detrimental to the case once it goes to trial.
The importance of quality management in a forensic laboratory cannot be overstated. Most laboratories across the world either have achieved ISO 1702 Five accreditation, or are seeking to do so.
While there are many standalone quality management systems on the market. Ideally, your forensic information management system should have quality features integrated throughout. This is not an exhaustive list. But some of those features would include full traceability, such as strong chain of custody, as well as audit trails for any changes that are made in the system. It should also have the ability to track consumables and equipment.
In the case of consumables, which are things such as chemicals, solvents, reagents, DNA kits, it could even be something like gloves, pipettes and that sort of thing. You should be able to track the lot numbers for the purchase materials, as well as expiration dates, and any quality tests that were conducted to ensure that the consumable can be released for use in casework.
If a reagent is prepared in house, you should be able to store a recipe for that reagent and track all of the components that go into the reagent when it's prepared. Additionally, you would expect to be alerted when the supply of material is getting low, or when its expiration date is approaching.
For equipment, you should be able to track information about the purchase of the equipment, as well as repair and maintenance records and calibration events. And you should be able to take that instrument offline should it not be fit for use at any given time to prevent it from inadvertently being used in casework. As we know accredited laboratories are expected to have trading programs and the individuals performing the analyses are expected to be certified that they know how to perform the test, as well as how to operate the equipment used for the testing. One way the limbs can help enforce this quality standard is to prevent anyone who is not certified on a piece of equipment from assigning it to a test, this next one can be a real pain point.
Of course, continual process improvement is the hallmark of a good quality system and includes the ability to conduct corrective and preventative action lab investigations. Having this information integrated within the same system is more rigorous and efficient than having a separate system for tracking this important activity.
Without a Lim's, it can take weeks to pull together all the needed documentation for an upcoming accreditation assessment. Having everything in one place can reduce this time significantly.
Finally, the final report is the output of the work performed by the analyst. This report will be disseminated to law enforcement officers as well as the prosecuting and defense attorneys. It's crucial that the limps facilitate and document the review and approval process of not just the analytical results, but the final report. This report may well be tendered into evidence at trial.
Property Management, it's crucial that property technicians be able to locate evidence at a moment's notice. The evidence may be needed in court, it may need to be returned to our rightful owner. For example, a person may show up with a court order, indicating that the property technician needs to release medication to that person, or it may be needed to be sent over to the lab for testing. So locating that evidence quickly is really important.
The forensic information management system will track every time the evidence changes custodian or location. The system should also facilitate internal quality audits of the storage locations. This is one way to ensure everything is in its proper and expected location. One challenge facing law enforcement organizations is the accumulation of evidence. As the property facility fills up, the organization is tasked with finding additional space, and that can be very costly. One way to help mitigate this growing problem is to have mechanisms within your forensic information management system to help manage this process.
Ideally, the property technicians should be alerted by the system when there's evidence associated with cases that have either been adjudicated or have met their statute of limitations, so that evidence can be properly dispositioned.
This would include a mechanism for those property technicians to interact with the laboratory. The police officers, especially the lead detective, and the prosecuting attorneys to obtain approval for the disposition.
The tracking of sexual assault kits has recently received much needed attention from legislators.
There have been many initiatives started throughout the country, such as the Sexual Assault Kit initiative from the Bureau of Justice. Also, many states including Wisconsin and Georgia have passed legislation to require the processing of this important evidence in a timely manner. Other private organizations are also funding this initiative, such as the happy heart organization started by Mariska Haggerty from Law and Order Special Victims Unit.
All of this is an effort to address the unacceptable fact that 1000s of rape kits were sitting in property rooms across the country having never been tested. It's estimated in 2016, that nationally there were approximately 400,000 kits sitting in storage. These are kits that did not even make it over to the laboratory for testing.
One problem contributing to this is the lack of a forensic information management system that could provide traceability and insight into where these kits are.
When kits aren't tested, what happens is an assault may happen in 2016, for example, and if that kit isn't tested until maybe 2019. In the interim, that person who committed the offense is out committing additional sexual assaults, and therefore the backlog continues to grow. And those are victims who did not need to actually be victimized. What's found is that oftentimes when these kits are finally tested, and a suspect is identified, we will see
He that in the past few years, they've committed many more offenses. So this is a really important initiative. What you should expect in your forensic information management system is the ability for these kids to be tracked from the time they're collected all the way through the testing process. And stakeholders such as the law enforcement officers, the survivors, and the prosecuting attorneys should be informed of the status of the kid all along the way.
Medical Examiner, as we saw earlier, the medical examiner is an integral part of many criminal investigations, from arriving at the scene to examine and take possession of the body, and transporting the body back over to the medical examiner's office where they can collect additional evidence and maybe even run some of their own tests.
As you can see, there's a lot of overlap between laboratory testing in the medical examiner's office in and in the laboratory. So in order to mitigate data being duplicated between the medical examiner's office and the laboratory, it's really important that they be part of one larger platform one larger solution. As I mentioned, oftentimes, the medical examiner will do some of their own testing in house especially toxicology.
Okay, we're gonna transition over now to crime scene and what the films can contribute at those locations. They're difficult places to work. They're busy, sometimes noisy, not to mention often very unpleasant. And generally, there's not a comfy office chair to sit down at with a laptop. The crime scene investigator must be able to quickly and easily enter information at the scene via some type of mobile and robust device. This relates not just to evidence IDs and descriptions, but also crime scene description itself, photographs, and videos. Also, that data entry must automatically initiate a reliable and thorough chain of custody that cannot be excluded for any reason.
Lastly, and critical to the entire forensic process. data generated at the crime scene needs to be stored in a location. And as part of a process that continues through the lab and our property and evidence. No one should ever have to enter that same data a second time.
Labs are very powerful and often complex tools that require extensive training for a user to become proficient and comfortable. That is time well spent. For those individuals who spend a significant amount of time utilizing the system within the laboratory. external entities however, including law enforcement officers, investigators, and lawyers also need information, but they rarely use the system. And it makes no sense to invest time in teaching them all of the intricacies of the full limbs.
This is why a portal is amazingly useful, often described in very technical terms unnecessarily I might add, they are simply a secure and limited private conduit into the limbs, wherein only a small portion of the limbs capabilities are used are very intuitive to use, and involve software licenses that are actually less expensive. The biggest and very productive uses of a portal are being able to create evidence and introduce that evidence to the forensic lifecycle from the field.
Secondly, checking the status of the examination work being done by the lab. And thirdly, obtaining reports of in process or completed examinations.
So let's take a look at a typical user story our life cycle in the laboratory and involving the clients of the laboratory when a portal is not present, so you have an investigator here outside of the laboratory, who needs to know the status of the analytical work to be done on her evidence. So she picks up the phone and calls the laboratory has to leave a message because no one answers. And that, of course, kicks off some waiting.
And she waits some more. And finally she calls back. And this time the phone call is a little less friendly, because she's been waiting and she needs the information urgently.
This time we have someone in the laboratory who actually answers the phone. Of course, he's very sorry, he's incredibly busy. Life is overwhelming. He can't keep up with his workload, but he assures the investigator that she's very important. And then the is statement with Oh, yeah, what was the sample or case number again. Now she's not happy at all, because she's having to repeat what she's already told him twice, one time of which was in a voicemail.
So now he's going to give her the time she deserves he asked her to hold on the phone, which means she's waiting some more, he goes off to the limbs, probably takes a little bit of while to find the information because the limbs, of course, is fairly complex, necessarily, because the laboratory processes themselves are complex. Then he comes back comes back to her with the data. And at the end confirms with a question is the case number or the sample number correct.
That is unbearable, because she's told them it three or four times. So let's take a different approach. Let's get rid of the need for her to make this phone call. Let's get rid of all of the waiting that she has to do at all of these steps. Let's get rid of this guy over here. And just give her access to the portal. That again, lets her create evidence submissions, lets her check statuses and lets her actually get her own reports when they are available.
Now we're going to talk about forensic intelligence. And we're going to start with a user story of the typical lab life cycle, a sample gets tested, data is generated, the data is reviewed, and yes, sometimes it's approved immediately. Sometimes there has to be a rerun for some reason, we generate a report that can be distributed either hardcopy or electronically, but then that report that data gets stored somewhere, likely a file drawer in an office somewhere. And then most importantly, the data is never looked at again. Because it was only considered to be useful as it pertained to the specific case from which it came.
What else can we possibly do to get value from this data? First, understand that it has inherent value that goes beyond the specific case from which it was generated. When analyzed in the aggregate across multiple cases, it provides very interesting and actionable information.
By analyzing the many variables associated with these cases, trends can be identified that allow for predictive intelligence. And that is what might happen next, where might it happen? By whom, under what conditions and then also prescriptive intelligence. What actions might we law enforcement take as a preventive measure for those crimes being repeated again, at a future time.
A FIM solution can have all of the above capabilities that Robin and I have discussed, yet still not perform for you in the long run, if it does not have cybersecurity, which means difficult to access, user security enhancing measures like multi factor authentication, and that is tested thoroughly by hackers. Browser agnostic city need to be able to use almost any browser.
They change and clients have different platform preferences. Thirdly, an underlying platform that is scalable, so it grows with your agency. Such a platform facilitates the addition of new employees or new organizational units.
The addition of new and more complex examinations and changes to quality assurance requirements related to requisite certifications. Also very valuable our mobility, which is the need to be able to work at the crime scene, and other locations remotely in an effective manner, hosting and SAS which is software as a service options, both options that preclude the need for IT staff and the need for in house expensive hardware within your agency.
Lastly, other important considerations are LDAP, which is Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. Sso which is single sign on and also multi factor authentication support.
Further regarding technology lab Vantage does offer a zero footprint user interface that is 100% Pure browser based zero footprint means that nothing needs to be installed on the local machine from which you are accessing the femmes. It is also fully compliant with browser agnostic html5 standards. You can see as an example over there, some of the more popular browsers that are supported at live Vantage. Also it can be hosted anywhere. Amazon Web Services is one possible host.
There are others including Microsoft xuer. centralized deployment helps facilitate the storage of data in one location and whether it was entered at the crime scene entered in a law enforcement officer vehicle or anywhere else, it continues to be accessible throughout the other locations in the process. Scalability we also talked about and that is the ability of the system to facilitate any growth that you undergo at your agency. Lastly, at last advantage, perpetual licenses can be obtained, which gives you long term ownership of license.
They can be employed, on prem at your facility, or on any cloud offering. And then lastly, web Vantage offers enterprise SAS, which is a full service offering that maintains your system from a hardware and software perspective, including any updates, patches, or any problems that occur throughout the implementation with a SAS deployment. You do not need it personnel supporting your system, nor as in the case of the cloud offerings. Do you need any hardware installed at your location?
That concludes the presentation and we appreciate your time.
Okay, great. Thanks, Bob and Robin for a wonderful presentation. At this point, we are going to move into the question and answer session of our presentation. Again, for those of you who may have joined us late, you can send in your questions by typing them into the q&a box located on the right hand side of the screen. And if you would like lab managers should reach out to you after the conclusion of this webinar. We invite you to leave a comment in the q&a section we will have a record of your name and email address and they will be sure to get back to you. So Robin and Bob. Thanks again. Let's jump right into the questions here. You differentiate sample and case centric, but don't you still work with samples in the forensic system?
Yes, we still do work with samples but the difference is how the system is focused. So in a forensic case, you have cases those cases have packages, those packages have exhibits from which you might take samples to be tested. But at the end of the day, the results of testing those samples are part of a larger case. Whereas in a traditional non forensic lives, the you're testing the sample and the whole hierarchy of the case is lost.
Okay, great. Thanks. Let's move on to the next question. Here. This one says there's a lot of coverage here throughout the entire lifecycle. What happens if my operations only a couple of these work areas like lab and crime scene that's not a problem at all. As I was mentioning. Whatever solution you choose should be flexible enough to cover the entire lifecycle, however permit you to use just the functionality that you need and the licensing mechanism should be such that you're only being charged for paying for the amount of usage.
For example, one of the common ways that a product a software product is licensed is concurrent licenses. So for example, with the left Vantage solution, which covers the entire lifecycle, you would only be buying as many licenses as you would expect for people to be logged into the system at one time. So you might have 100 employees who access the system, however, you may only expect 30 of those employees to be accessing the system at any one time. And that's how you would be, you would want to purchase your licenses.
Now, in that case, as you can see, if you're doing it that way, it doesn't matter which portions of the system you're using. So the fact that you're not using property management or medical examiner's office is not causing you any extra price, because you're only paying for the licenses that you need to access the system, we find that it's better to produce a high quality comprehensive system to have everything as part of that one solution and let people not use pieces that they don't need, versus trying to bolt together separate modules for those organizations that do need the full comprehensive package.
Okay, great. Thank you. Here's another question that says evidence can start out in the fins at either the crime scene, the lab or the property? How do you handle identification of items? And are they dependent on the starting place?
No, it doesn't depend on the starting place. Every case, as we mentioned, everything's case centric. And every criminal investigation begins with a case that originates with some law enforcement organization, and the investigative agencies identification number. So for example, if you are in a car accident, as you know, the police officer is going to give you a record number that you would be able to use when you call to the police department to get a copy of the report.
So every single criminal investigation is going to originate with some agency, and there's going to be some identification number associated to that, that crime. Those numbers are critical. And so whether the evidence starts out at the crime scene, or in property or directly in lab, that combination of the agency and investigative agency number is going to be used to tie the evidence all together. And it's going to be given each piece of evidence is going to be given a unique identifier under that case.
Okay, wonderful. Thank you.
Here's another question. This one says for sexual assault kits, how are the victims informed?
I can only speak to how it's done in LifeVantage. But in lab Vantage, the survivors can choose to opt in by providing their email address. And if they do provide their email address and opt in, they would receive notifications throughout the process.
Okay, great, thank you. Here's another question that says Why isn't the medical examiner just treated as another lab unit?
That's a great question. And the reason for that is that you could do that. However, if you do that, really, the medical examiner would then just be using kind of setting up electronic forms to enter their data and their observations, just like any other lab unit, like firearms, and so forth. And what we find is that many medical examiner organizations actually want kind of a different structure around scheduling autopsies and doing their internal and their external observations. So it really is better if you have a kind of a dedicated workflow for those medical examiner organizations.
All right, great, thank you. This next question says, What if we have our own portal that's connected to our agency's Record Management System?
Yeah, that is not a problem. A portal connected to that record management system really gives a couple of options for proceeding. You can continue to use that and also utilize a second unrelated portal to access the femmes. Another option is it's a little bit more work but another option is, is to build an interface between the Sims and that record management
system such that in the end, you would only be using one portal. Clearly both options would need to be looked at from a technical perspective for the determination of what's the most cost effective way to proceed.
All right, great. Thank you. We have time for a couple more questions here. This one says, is forensic intelligence the same as key performance indicators? No, it is not. It goes quite a bit beyond that. KPIs or key performance indicators are typically just statistics about laboratory data that has been generated. So a laboratory manager, for example, would use those KPIs to address performance of individual employees performance of individual laboratory units. And it's really an operational analysis type consideration for performance improvement.
Forensic intelligence is quite a bit different. It does, of course, run based on data that has been generated. But with intelligence you're generating and analysis of any and all data that's been generated across maybe all of the cases that you have worked with, and the intelligence that you glean from all of that data is based on the many variables that can be analyzed. So you can use that analysis to determine what crimes are unlikely to occur again, under what circumstances and what locations etc. And you can also do prescriptive intelligence, that will actually help you determine what actions you might be able to take to prevent those crimes from occurring again.
Okay, great, thanks. We have time for one more question. This one says what database can lab Vantage be deployed on?
Almost exclusively, we use either Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle. They have been validated and they are formally a part of the release process that we go through. This doesn't mean that we can't possibly utilize other databases, but but certainly more work would be involved.
Okay, wonderful. Thanks so much.
This brings us to the end of today's webinar. Just a reminder that this webinar will be available on demand shortly following this presentation. Please watch your email for a message from lab manager once this video is available. On behalf of lab manager, I'd like to thank Dr. Robin McDonald and Bob Hilbert for all the hard work they put into this presentation. And I would like to thank all of you for taking time out of your busy schedules to join us today. Once again, thank you to our sponsor lab manage their support allows us to offer these webinars free of charge to our readers. For more information on all of our upcoming or on demand webinars or to learn more about the latest tools and technologies for the laboratory, please visit our website at lab manager.com. We hope you can join us again. Thank you and have a great day