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Four Manchester hospital trusts to standardise pathology lab systems


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Doctor looking at pathology scans
Image source: Clinisys

Four trusts in the Greater Manchester Pathology Network are planning to deploy Clinisys’ laboratory information management system (LIMS) for collaborative working.

In a series of tenders, Tameside, Stockport, Bolton, and Northern Care Alliance (NCA) NHS Trusts have all awarded contracts to the company to use its WinPath LIMS, and plans are now being developed to interface the systems to create an integrated, interoperable LIMS service across the network. 

Work is underway to make sure the systems use the same test lists, coding and naming conventions.

The effort will support the development of the network, in line with NHS England encouraging trusts to create local collaborations between pathology laboratories.

It has also developed a maturity matrix for networks that says they should have modern IT systems in place by the end of 2024-25. The Greater Manchester trusts are planning to have the new LIMS service in place by then.

Reducing variations in tests

Katie Moss, programme director for the Greater Manchester Pathology Network, said: “The idea is that there should be a standardised system at each organisation and a standard interface across Greater Manchester, so we can view patient results in the Greater Manchester Care Record from all electronic patient records. 

“That should help to reduce unwarranted variation in the way tests are conducted and reported, supporting a more collaborative way of working. It should also make it easier for clinicians to see if a patient has had a test taken already, so they can avoid repeating the test or use the results to reach a faster diagnosis or treatment decision.” 

Phil Bell, digital systems lead for the network, said: “The standardisation of test and profile descriptions, along with the common interfaces to EPR systems and the GMCR, will provide a user-friendly view of pathology results for all Greater Manchester clinicians. This marks an important advance in pathology standardisation and demonstrates how the benefits can be realised downstream from the lab systems.”

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