Volume 35, Issue 2 (March 1990)

    Improving Information Management in a Metropolitan Coroner's Office. Part 1: Design and Implementation of a Cost-Effective Minicomputer System with Initial Applications for the Toxicology Laboratory

    (Received 10 February 1989; accepted 22 May 1989)

    CODEN: JFSOAD

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    Abstract

    We report the development of a system of computer hardware and software which addresses the special needs of forensic toxicology laboratories for real-time data-gathering, analysis, and retrieval. In addition to accessioning, work-list preparation, and result reporting, we implement automatic test ordering based on patient and case characteristics to provide reliable and uniform analyte profiles for puzzle solving. The system also provides extensive real-time event journaling to satisfy strict chain of custody requirements, consistent with both College of American Pathologists accreditation and National Institute on Drug Abuse certification. The toxicologist's expertise has been woven into the fabric of the software so that appropriate new orders are placed as results from previous orders arrive. The relationships among analyte concentrations in various specimens (blood, urine, gastric, and so forth) as a function of time before and after death have been incorporated into other software experts which review final results for inconsistencies. The system has saved many hours of error-prone manual work, streamlined data storage and access, automated data collection from instruments, and made a broad spectrum of expertise available to the laboratory at all times. These features have decreased error rates, increased productivity, and enhanced the puzzle-solving skills of the laboratory.


    Author Information:

    Hepler, BR
    Associate chief toxicologist and chief toxicologist, Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office, Cleveland, OH

    Sutheimer, CA
    Associate chief toxicologist and chief toxicologist, Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office, Cleveland, OH

    Cechner, RL
    Associate professor of pathology and biomedical engineering, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH


    Stock #: JFS12839J

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS12839J

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    Author
    Title Improving Information Management in a Metropolitan Coroner's Office. Part 1: Design and Implementation of a Cost-Effective Minicomputer System with Initial Applications for the Toxicology Laboratory
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30