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The doctors Laboratory_Totara_LMS

The Doctors Laboratory Build a Data-Driven Business With Totara's LMS

The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) is a medically-led laboratory, established in 1987. It is the largest independent provider of clinical laboratory diagnostic services in the UK. They provide their customers with the laboratory information required for diagnosis and treatment of medical disorders.  In 2015 TDL partnered with UCLH and RFH to form Health Services Laboratories delivering pathology to the multiple NHS London hospitals. They produce circa 55 million diagnostic results per annum.

The Challenge

A large number of their workforce (biomedical scientists) undertake professional qualifications which are work based and they compile a paper portfolio of evidence.  These qualifications can take years to complete and monitoring the progress of individual portfolios was difficult. 

The previous tracking method was maintaining a spreadsheet that was reliant on the training officers (each portfolio has a trainer allocated to support the trainee) making estimates on % complete and sending through updates. They also had a lot of unknowns that is common with a paper-based system. 

Overall, this resulted in inaccurate estimates and out of date information making it very difficult to identify anyone falling behind and provide additional support and guidance where needed.

The Solution

TDL's solution was to set up the framework of the portfolio as a course on Totara Learn. Each module of the portfolio was set up within the course.  Multiple one question quiz activities allowed the trainee to mark when that section of the portfolio has been signed off as complete.

TDL home totara

Using the feedback activity they were able to enter in the date the portfolio was issued and the target completion date.  They were also able to track the date of their portfolio assessment and the assessment outcome.

TDL course

The reporting of this information was via Tableau, a business analytics platform that is in use within the company.  Due to Totara being open source TDL were able to connect Tableau to Totara to allow data from Totara to be displayed within a Tableau report.  The data from the portfolio courses graphically displayed the progress of a portfolio through a bar being coloured in based on the number of activities (quizzes) that Totara identified as complete.  A constantly moving red line identified ‘today’ to allow easy visualisation of whether a portfolio is on track or running behind.

TDL registration report

These reports were made available to all trainers who were supporting portfolios.

TDL are continuing to develop this tool and the next step is to embed individual reports within Totara so they can be viewed directly.

“The implementation of this system has allowed us to have visibility of the training being undertaken across the business and ensure staff are fully supported in this qualification.”

Wendy Leversuch, Head of Scientific Training

The Result

The open source nature of Totara allowed TDL to connect with their data analytics software which enabled them to achieve:

  • Increased visibility of portfolios across the business
  • Identified individuals who were falling behind and allocate appropriate support to help them finish
  • Support their staff development which in turn aid recruitment and retention

“The ability to clearly see the progress of all portfolios has allowed us to illustrate our commitment to supporting the development of our staff and ensure that the appropriate resources are allocated.”

Tim Herriman, Group Laboratory Director.


“The open source nature of Totara has allowed us to innovate without limits, empowering the business to make the right data-driven decisions. The ease of integration between Totara and Tableau has ensured that the right reports are available to the right people”

Ben Hogaldo, Laboratory Director Support Officer.