Disclosure: EnviroChain started out originally as my idea, so obviously my opinions are somewhat biased about how cool it is. Ok, now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about the features of EnviroChain that I think are really cool and that should make your life as a sampling technician or environmental scientist easier.
1. It’s tightly integrated with Promium’s Element LIMS
When you use EnviroChain, all of your CoC data is immediately available for insertion into your lab’s LIMS via the EnviroChain APIs. If your lab uses the latest version of Promium Element, it means that your CoC data is automatically inserted into the lab’s workflow, without the need for anyone to re-type anything. That means that your lab knows about your incoming cooler shipment the minute you submit your CoC. That also means that when the lab tech at the sample login station receives your shipment, he/she only needs to verify that what you stated on the CoC is actually what arrived at the lab. There’s no need for the lab tech to try to figure out your chicken-scratch hand-writing on that paper CoC and accidentally type a 1 instead of a 7 or an i. If your lab doesn’t use Promium Element, the lab can still insert your CoC data automatically as long as their IT department builds a simple script to access the data via EnviroChain’s APIs.
How does this help you the sampler? Well, how many times have you had to contact your lab because they screwed up the sample ID on your report because they typed it in wrong? Or had to yell at them because they ran the wrong analyses, or ran them out of hold time? Using EnviroChain virtually eliminates typos and transcription errors, gets the data to the lab faster so that they know of a short hold time or rush sample, and if the lab uploads their method numbers into EnviroChain, then there’s no question as to what method they need to run.
2. You can copy an existing CoC with two taps of your finger
If you have routine events that you go to on a regular basis, there is a “Copy CoC” feature on the home page/dashboard that turns the process of creating your CoC into literally two taps on your phone. Just select the existing CoC by tapping on the radio button to the left of it, and then tap on the 2 papers icon on the top left of the dashboard (iPhone). That’s it. Once the copy is made, you can drill down into the newly created CoC and edit any existing details. Note that when a CoC is created as a copy of a previous one, the sampling times, signatures, and field data are cleared, and the sampling date is changed to the current date.
3. The mobile apps run in offline mode (no need for an internet connection)
One of the issues of field work is that sometimes you are in the middle of nowhere conducting a sampling event, and the odds are pretty good that getting a decent cell signal or internet connection sometimes is near impossible. If you have an iPhone or Android phone, you can use EnviroChain for your CoC because its native apps run in offline mode. So you can collect your CoC data no matter where you are, and then when in an area with cell or wifi coverage, you can sync it up with a single tap.
4. You can collect field data parameters (low-flow sampling, Florida ADaPT, or your own custom parameters)
To enter field data using EnviroChain, make sure that your project is set up for requiring field data. There’s a on/off toggle switch on the bottom of the Edit Project screen. Go there, flip it on, and then choose between Standard and Florida ADaPT formats. Once you save this, go to your sample edit screen, tap on Advanced, scroll down and tap on “Edit Field Data”. You will then see either the Florida ADaPT screen or a screen similar to the one in the above screenshot. For those of you that use field test kits for capturing natural attenuation parameters, there are some field test kits that appear by default within the HAch Test Kits and CHEMetrics Test Kits tabs.
All of the standard field parameters are editable, meaning that if you don’t want them to appear on the screen, or appear in a different order from top to bottom, you can change this by logging into the EnviroChain web application and changing it from there. More info about how to do this is posted here.
Oh, and ALL of the field parameter data that you enter will be pushed into an Excel file that you will receive via email. If you are using Florida ADaPT, the Excel file will be formatted the way that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) requires it.
5. Sign your CoC with your finger
I’ve gotten a lot of flack for this one…electronic signatures…but did you know that e-signatures were approved by the Clinton administration, like in 1999…8 years before iPhones even existed? I mean, seriously, some people still refuse to believe that a signature captured on a device “ain’t legit”. Well it is. Here’s some info about that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_signature With EnviroChain, you can use your finger to sign your CoC, and so can whoever you relinquish the samples to. There’s a lot of e-sig data captured on the backend, including session timestamps, machine IDs, IP addresses, and even location data if you are signing the form from a mobile device.
6. You can contact your lab courier right from within EnviroChain and let them know where you are with a single tap
In the shipping screen, if you tap on “Courier” the screen will refresh and display a few extra fields. If you tap on the GPS icon, the phone will read your location from your phone’s GPS card and insert the address in those fields for you. Then if you tap the “Notify Courier Now” link, an email will pre-populate that you can send to the courier with all pertinent details.
7. You can take pictures and tie them to your samples!
Yep, you can take pictures and even tap on a geolocate button to capture lat/long data and associate that with your sample. A future release will improve the photo capture feature of EnviroChain, but it does work and it’s pretty cool.
The system is pretty robust now. We are on version 3 of this, so it is not a beta product anymore. Give it a try. It’s free for sample generators. Click the button below to find out more about it.