Troubleshooting and maintaining automated immunoassay systems can significantly impact system downtime and the throughput of a lab. To perform troubleshooting and maintenance procedures, users are often required to reference printed maintenance procedures or troubleshooting guides, utilize tribal knowledge, or perform complex manual tasks. A consistent and simplified help wizard solution, the SimpleSolve Onboard Guide, has been created to allow users to complete these tasks more efficiently on future automated immunoassay systems.
A help wizard is a workflow that guides users through the performance of procedures in a highly structured and consistent way. Wizards are especially useful for highly regimented and complex activities such as troubleshooting, maintenance, or for rare tasks requiring human intervention. The SimpleSolve Onboard Guide has been created for use on future analyzers where workflows are segmented into steps that are performed jointly by the system and the user.
Instrument features, such as hardware sensors, are used to identify analyzer status. For example, during a barcode read failure, the barcode scanner can be polled to determine whether the failure resides with the consumable or the analyzer. Then, the hardware and software interact to either automatically complete a workflow step or present relevant help instructions needed by the operator to manually complete an action. Software is structured to provide a consistent user interface experience for the performance of all wizards. Workflows are interactive and allow for branching depending on system status or user input.
Examples of Wizards and how they work:
Running a cleaning panel is a weekly task that requires the user to input rack and tube information. The help wizard user interface includes fields for all information that the user must identify before loading the panel. Once the user inputs the required information, the system automates the remaining steps. Once complete, the instrument automatically documents performance of the task, date, time and operator in an electronic maintenance log.
Failure to read a consumable barcode – Cameras prepare an image of the barcode for some consumables used by the instrument. When a camera fails to read a barcode, the SimpleSolve Onboard Guide allows the user to compare the barcode image with examples of good and bad barcode images. Troubleshooting is branched and directs the user to identify why the barcode read failure occurred. The user answers questions to be taken down the correct branch and resolve the issue. Once the end of the branch is reached, the issue is resolved and the user can continue running the analyzer.
While it is preferable to fully automate all maintenance, error handling, and troubleshooting processes, tasks remain that require human interaction, input and judgement. The new advanced instrument-guided troubleshooting workflows improve the user experience by:
1) Improving uptime by efficiently providing troubleshooting instructions to the user
2) Reducing the need for advanced training
3) Eliminating the need for printed troubleshooting information and tribal knowledge