For years my lab has been noting/announcing/complaining that we definitely need a proper laboratory management computing system to handle the thousands of samples and tests we do. Things get lost. Mixed up. Set aside. It's hard to handle everything manually when you have some 500 tests pending at any given moment.
Several years ago we did win a grant to develop such a system with a local start-up company, but after a long time of throwing good money after bad, the project was given up as being far beyond the capacity of the startup.
Um, you might ask, might there be any appropriate commercial software available for your problem?
Yes, there is. But for a genetics lab, where we deal not just with individuals with families, and not just the analysis of one little item but a whole chain of items to make a whole, Appropriate Software costs hundreds of thousands of bucks.
Bucks we don't have, and that our computing department doesn't believe we need. They sent us off to develop what we needed on our own!
Then one fine day there was a problem with the identification of a patient (which was in fact not our problem at all, but a problem at the hospital level of the labels they print being limited to a certain number of characters, and a patient with a name longer than that), and the head of computing suddenly decided we needed a proper system for handling all our samples.
And then she decided that we should have this one particular program to do it. Without consulting us, of course. Just happens that this is one of the better systems we've looked into. We were happy enough to have this imposed upon us. Now we're getting into setting it up, and it comes to light that there's a new version coming out in the spring. And that the new version is far better adapted to our needs. So naturally they will start training now & all, but when it comes to the installation we'll get the new version, not the old.
Only, the new version doesn't work with Windows XP.
Why should it? Nobody uses XP any more.
Well, um, we do.
And do you think they're just going to install a better operating system on all our machines?
16 hours ago