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North West Anglia NHS Trust consolidates laboratory information systems


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Team at North West Anglia NHS Trust
Team at North West Anglia NHS Trust
Image source: Clinisys

North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust has replaced two legacy laboratory information systems (LIMS) with a single instance of Clinisys WinPath.

The move is the latest step in its consolidation of systems since the trust was formed from the merger of Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals and Hinchingbrooke Health Care in 2017. 

The new LIMS will be used with an extension of the ICE order communications and results reporting system, previously used at Peterborough and Stamford, to Hinchingbrooke as part of the trust’s digital strategy to integrate a reduced number of IT systems with a new electronic patient record.

This is intended to lay the ground for further digital improvement projects and support the development of a pathology network with neighbouring trusts. 

Vision for harmonisation

Pathology services manager Matthew Smith said: “We had two, old systems from when our trusts merged. Our vision is a single LIMS and a single order communications system, with a harmonised workflow and a single viewer for clinicians, and we have taken an important step towards delivering that.”

He added: “Moving to a new, modern system enables us to improve efficiency at our laboratories and will support the delivery of further projects that will bring patient safety and sustainability benefits, by removing paper and plastic from our workflows.” 

The pathology service at Hinchingbrooke was using an older Clinisys product, but the lab at Peterborough and Stamford hospitals was using a legacy system installed around 30 years ago.

North West Anglia’s pathology service is working towards using Clinisys’ data and analysis tools to automatically collect and submit NHS England’s Cancer Outcomes and Services Dataset and to gain more insight into the performance of the labs. 

The go-lives will also enable further projects, including the introduction of bedside labelling on hospital wards that will support pass through numbering, and the removal of paper forms and plastic transport bags required for the blood tests collected by the phlebotomy service and GPs. 

Pathology progress

The trust is now using the same pathology LIMS platform as one of the other two trusts in the ME-5 pathology network. This is expected to enable greater interoperability across the network.

NHS England is encouraging labs to join pathology networks to improve the efficiency and quality of laboratory services, and using a common LIMS should make it easier for labs to share resources and standardise processes. 

Robin Lucas-Evans, point of care testing coordinator (POCT) at North West Anglia, said: “The new LIMS has enabled NWAngliaFT to provide total visibility of POCT results to all frontline staff across our hospitals in near real time, enabling us to move away entirely from paper based data entry and archiving systems. 

“For the first time, clinical staff will be able to see all POCT results in ICE. Users will no longer need to generate request forms for their patients, and results will appear in ICE near instantaneously – whereas it used to take between two and five working days for the internal post and manual entry.”

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