αlpha 8 includes technical improvements which make the software more flexible and easier to use than ever before.
αlpha 8 groups all functions into three sections: Patients, Statistics and Setup. These sections are identified by icons at the top of each αlpha screen as shown below and are described in the following sections:
All patient data
All the routine tasks involved in running your screening program are accessed from the patients screen. It includes facilities for data entry, preparing screening reports and searching for patient records in the αlpha database. You can also import data from laboratory information systems and marker measurements from analysers.
The statistics screen provides access to everything you need to monitor and improve the performance of your screening programme. Automonitor is shown immediately you open the statistics screen and provides at-a-glance information about your screening program. Other features allow you to monitor changes in your median MoMs with time, calculated the expected screening performance, evaluate the stability of your marker medians and to update your normal median equations. Live screens are used to update results after you change settings so that using the statistical features in αlpha is interactive and fast.
The set-up screen is used to access the features used to configure αlpha. You can configure the appearance your screening reports including the facility to add locally defined messages if required. An events Log automatically records when changes are made.
Easy multi-tasking: switch between tasks with ease
Multitasking is now incredibly easy - section tiles display the number of active tasks and a task can be reopened by simply clicking on its thumbnail
Remarkably fast operations
Compared to αlpha 7, the same operations on αlpha 8 are up to 30 times faster.
|Report summary||30 times faster|
|Marker tabulation||19 times faster|
|Searching for patient||3 times faster|
|Median Analysis||2 times faster|
αlpha also uses "live screens" for displaying results which are designed to improve productivity by making it easier to change search terms or conditions and quickly show the results.
Searching for patients in αlpha 8 is easy and simple. The patients screen has two methods for searching:
- A quick search which searches all data entry fields in both reported and unreported records for the term entered.
- An advanced search capability which allows more complex searches to be made involving more than one field and specified date ranges .
These methods are illustrated in the video below. It shows:
- Searching for the date "01/04/82". This will find any occurrence of this date in all patient records held by αlpha.
- The advanced search being used to search for just those patients with a date of birth of 01/04/82
AutoMonitor is a new feature included in αlpha 8 which provides at-a-glance information about the performance of your screening program and highlights areas which may require further investigation. For more information click below.
The Events Log is a new feature in αlpha 8 which records changes to the αlpha configuration including median updates, relicensing, software version changes, data transfer settings and screen design. Custom entries can also be entered to record other events, for example changes to assays or laboratory equipment. Whenever a setting is changed in αlpha an entry showing the details of the change will be entered into the log.
Latest markers and updated statistical parameters
αlpha 8 includes first trimester placental growth factor as a marker for Down's syndrome screening. The statistical parameters for Down's syndrome screening use the latest updates to the SURUSS study (1).
For pre-eclampsia screening alpha now includes first and second trimester placental growth factor and mean arterial pressure as markers (2,3,4).
For more information, click here.
1. Improvements in antenatal screening for Down’s syndrome (2013)
2. Screening for pre-eclampsia using serum placental growth factor and endoglin measurement with Down’s Syndrome Quadruple test markers (2012)
3. Prediction of early intermediate and late pre-eclampsia from maternal factors, biophysical and biochemical markers at 11-13 weeks (2011)
4. Competing risks model in early screening for preeclampsia by biophysical and biochemical markers (2013)
Multiuser and SQL Server
αlpha 8 has significantly improved interactions between users when they are editing the same patient data simultaneously. When a user is editing a patient record they are informed of any changes made by another user who was editing the record at the same time. They can then elect to discard the other user's changes or to keep the changes they have made.
The number of users is only limited by the hardware used. Security levels for each user limit the features in αlpha which they can access.
αlpha 8 uses Microsoft® SQL Server for its database which has the advantages of increased speed, functionality and data security. All αlpha data is now stored in the a single SQL Server database with the number of patients stored limited only by the hardware used.