Often, users are confused between the Shipment and Distribution features and are not clear on when to use which feature.
Shipment: When specimens are sent to another lab or offsite storage location, and that lab also uses the same instance of OpenSpecimen to receive and manage the samples.
For more details: Shipment
Distribution: When specimens are sent to a researcher or lab for utilizing the sample. The receiving lab does not use OpenSpecimen to track the samples.
For more details: Distribution
Here’s a summary of the differences:
Sent to researchers for utilization who may or may not be using OpenSpecimen
Sent to another site which uses the same instance of OpenSpecimen
Actions on Specimen
Distributed event added
Shipment shipped and shipment received events are added.
An option is available to dispose of the specimens available. If checked, a disposal event added to the specimen
No option to dispose of the specimens while shipping
Container with specimens
Containers cannot be distributed
Containers can be shipped
Not after the specimen has been distributed
Possible after the specimen has been shipped/received
Partial distribution is possible
Partial shipment is not possible
An option to return the specimens, fully or partially. A separate return event is added in such a case.
No option to return the shipment. Another shipment has to be created from destination to source.