Useful site addresses
Labmatrix Lab Loader
If you are importing clinical labs or cultures, you'll also be using the Labmatrix Lab Loader web application, which lives at https://lmlabs.cancer.gov/; your account information is again the same as your NIH username and password.
We have a centralized support system for NCI's Labmatrix installation. Emailing your request means that it is automatically entered into our work tracking system, and doesn't linger in a specific user's inbox; we can also track our responses to issues, and collaborate within our own group in solving problems as they come up. So please submit all requests for assistance via this email address! It's available as a link from Labmatrix's help page, on the login page of Labmatrix, and as a link at the bottom right of the Labmatrix home page.
There are a few simple steps to take up front to set up your account on the NCI instance of Labmatrix to make a few things much easier for you.
- Log into Labmatrix.
- Once logged in, click on "Contacts" in the top line of the website to go to the Contacts module.
- In the left-hand search pane, click on the "Organization" tab, type National Institutes into the "Name" search box, and click "Search".
- In the upper right search results pane, right-click on the line that has the Standard Acronym of "NIHCC", and choose "Add to my Favorites".
That's it for the setup; this allows you much easier access to the NIH institution in the various place you'll need to use it in Labmatrix.
Separation of the Person and the Subject
A critical distinction to understand in Labmatrix is the distinction between a Person and a Subject, a distinction that reflects the difference between a human being's properties (e.g., name, demographics) and the properties related to that human's participation in a study (e.g., the start date of the participation, their custom ID on the study). The distinction allows Labmatrix to enforce access limitations so that study data is only visible to that study's users, yet the general information about NIH patients is visible to the entire NIH community. Below is a simplified diagram showing the relationship of the two; the green area is the Person and associated data, and the yellow area is the Subject and associated data.
The notion of a Person (also known in Labmatrix as a Contact) reflects the information which specifically describes a human being's properties – things such as name, date of birth, gender, race, ethnicity, and medical record numbers. This is the part of the above diagram in the green box; you'll note the small "Race" and "Medical Record Number" boxes, which indicate that a single Person might have more than one of these (e.g., multi-racial, or different MRNs at different institutions).
The Person records for all NIH patients – e.g., those with NIH Clinical Center medical record numbers – must be placed into the "Patients" access group in Labmatrix! This is because they need to be accessible to all Labmatrix users. Don't worry – nearly 100% of the time, the wizard described below will handle this for you, but I document this just so that everyone knows why this is set up this way.
The notion of a Subject is what connects a Person to a study – e.g., the Person named "John Doe" is participating on a study named "Cancer Stem Cells", so that Person has a Subject record which links him to the Study. The easiest way to remember this distinction is by remembering that any one human being can participate in more than one study – for example, the person John Doe might be participating in a Derm Branch study, a Radiation Oncology Branch study, and a Surgery Branch study.
There is still only one human being, so there's only one Person record, but there are multiple Subject records linked to that Person which each represent the person enrolled on a specific study. The entire NCI can access that one Person record, but only those people with permissions to access each individual study can access each individual Subject record and the data that's linked to it. (So in the above diagram, each yellow box represents a separate access group, and the data within each is only accessible to those users with the proper permissions on that study.)
In Labmatrix, if you're viewing a Person record, there will be a "Subjects" tab on that record which will show you all the Subjects that you have permissions to see for that Person.
Entering new subjects into Labmatrix
Remember that because of the above distinction, when it's time for you to enter a new subject into Labmatrix, that subject might already have an existing Person record in our instance – they might be participating in another study, or have had tissue procured in the operating room, for example.
Entry of non-NIH individuals
In order to enter phone consults who don't have MRNs, click the "Subjects" link in the top line of Labmatrix, and then click the "New: Subject" link just below that line. A wizard window will pop up; you want to now click the "Create Non-NIH Subject" button at the bottom of that wizard window, which will close the window and open up a new data entry pane in the lower right pane of the Labmatrix window. This data entry pane is for the Person record.
In this pane, enter the information about the individual – name, date of birth, etc. For the "Access Group(s)" field, click "Browse" and choose the appropriate access group for the record (likely "Warren Phone Consults"). Once you're done entering the data, click the Save button. After saving, another new data entry pane will open, this one for the Subject record.
In this new Subject pane, next to the "Enrolled Studies" field, click "Browse" and again choose "Warren Phone Consults" (if this is a consult); this will automatically also populate the "Primary Study" pulldown with that same group. Enter any additional information you need to, and click "Save" at the bottom.
Entry of subjects with NIH MRNs
In order to enter a subject with an NIH Clinical Center medical record number, use the "New Subject" link at the top left of either the Subjects or Contacts module. This will launch the wizard. The first step will ask you to enter an MRN and choose a study (you'd choose "Skin Microbiome"), and then you click "Search" to check to see if there's an existing record for that MRN on the study. Since there isn't likely to be one, the list will come up empty; there will then be a "Search Persons" button at the bottom of the wizard which will search to see if there is an existing Person record with that MRN.
If there is an existing Person record: If there is an existing Person record, it will come up in the list, and you just highlight the row and click "Create Subject From This Person", which will open a "New Subject" pane pre-populated with the link to the correct Person record.
If there is not an existing Person record: If there isn't an existing Person record, then the list will be empty, and there will be a "Search CDR" button at the bottom which will then search the demographics registry for that MRN. So long as it's a valid and correct NIH Clinical Center MRN, clicking this button will bring up the correct demographics for the person; you then just click "Use This Person" at the bottom, and a "New Person" pane will come up pre-populated with all the demographics from the registry. Look it over and then click the "Save" button; this will then bring up a New Subject pane which is pre-populated with the link to the correct (new) Person record.
Once you're entering the new Subject record, you just choose the correct study for the subject and enter any study-specific information (such as a custom ID) and then click "Save" to save the record.
Entering new Phone Consult data into Labmatrix
Now that you have a Subject record, you just need to enter the phone consult information. From the Subject record, find the link near the top of the pane with a small green plus sign that reads "Create", and click it, go to "Custom Data Record", then choose "Warren_Phone_Consult", and finally click on "Enter Single Record." A new record will open.
In this record, fill in any appropriate data, and finally click "Save" at the bottom.