Expert Specimen Processing (ESP):
ESP was developed in-house by ARUP's Information Technology Department. It is a Windows NT, rules-based, intelligent software system that performs a number of critical functions including:
In addition to the above listed modules, ESP is ARUP’s main linking computer system to all of the interfaced automation systems as well as the Cerner PathNet system, which is ARUP's Laboratory Information System (LIS). Interfaced systems include APX (AutoLab Process eXpert), which operates the MDS AutoLab Automated Transport and Sorting System (Automated Track System), a system (WRx) that operates the SK Daifuku Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS), and systems that operate the Motoman AS/RS Sorter and the Motoman Storage AutoSorter (SAS).
As each patient order is completed in ESP Accessioning, the order is sent to both PathNet and APX and concludes with the printing of labels and the placement of tubes on the transport system. The labels have separate bar code identifiers for the accession number and a unique container tracking number. These bar codes use different symbologies, so that the bar code readers on the Automated Track System don't mistakenly read the accession numbers and the analyzer bar code readers don't read the container tracking numbers.
The APX order consists of the container tracking number followed by a sequence of one or more test codes ordered on that individual container. This sequence creates a route for each tube on the Automated Track System. The order sent to PathNet consists of a completed order, if the order is from a requisition, or a verification of the ordered tests, in the case of an electronic pre-order already in PathNet (see Accessioning Module). After receiving verified orders from ESP, PathNet essentially functions as it did prior to ARUP's development of ESP. As tubes are routed to their proper destinations on the Automated Track System, APX updates ESP on their progress. This communication enables ESP to both update its own Specimen Tracking Inquiry Module as well as update PathNet's tracking.
Individual laboratory sections can specify on a test-by-test basis whether tubes are to be aliquotted for multiple tests or routed without aliquotting, and ESP employs specific rules to follow these specifications. Often, multiple tests ordered on the same patient will be aliquotted to give faster service. However, routing is preferred in some instances. For example, for many urine tests performed by ARUP, a serum creatinine is also performed, so these specimens are routed to the required laboratory sections.
ESP is continually being upgraded with new or improved functionality and Windows-based screens for employee use. The above module descriptions may change from time to time to reflect these improvements.