Tag Archives: audit trails

“Too much information…”


The Kiestra TLA audit trails are really quite amazing in their detail. You can track down where every plate is at any time throughout the whole culture process. Because everything is automated and digital, more or less everything has an audit trail. There is no hiding place for anything, or anyone.

The accreditation agencies love it…

And you can even view how many plates an individual staff member reads per hour, every hour of the day. You could even hazard a guess at when they went to have a coffee.

Too much information perhaps…?

Everybody works at their own pace in the laboratory. Some people are naturally fast, some people are naturally slow.

That’s ok.

Some people like to have a chat between samples, and some people like to daydream. Some people even like to go for a wander every 10 minutes.

…and that’s ok as well.

The point being that to try and force people to work harder or faster is almost always both unsuccessful and counterproductive.

It is all about trust. If you trust people to do a job to the best of their ability, then the vast majority will.

It is a bit like those companies who have recently adopted a policy to give unlimited annual leave to their employees. What seems illogical at first glance actually works very well. Most people will work a sufficient number of weeks to provide benefit to their employer, whilst taking enough annual leave to both retain their sanity and have sufficient time with their family.

So I don’t care how many plates person X reads per hour. I have absolutely no interest in it whatsoever. What I do care about is that they are happy, and they are able to produce quality results.

Some audit information is best just ignored…


“Sending samples into the unknown”

I think In-House audit-trails are pretty sophisticated now. We can more or less tell who did what, how and when for samples that remain within our laboratory. This is particularly true for laboratories that have paperless systems and electronic audit trails.

Where laboratories in general are not so good is when samples get sent away to other laboratories outwith the local network, i.e. reference labs.


The computer systems may be different, interfacing may not be easy, the sample may go to the wrong department, it can be difficult getting the result back etc etc. The reference laboratory may not appreciate the importance or urgency of a particular sample.

Good transit auditing using professional tracking systems, good relationships and sound electronic communication between the referring and reference lab all help to reduce these problems. However at the end of the day, sending samples outwith your own laboratory network is always a leap of faith. You lose an element of control over the sample and establishing audit trails for a particular sample outwith your own laboratory can be frustrating work. In addition these are often some of the most important samples received into the laboratory.

However what you can be sure of is that the referring laboratory will generally get the blame from the requestor if something goes wrong!