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Northern Ireland to get single lab information system for pathology

01/10/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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Health and Social Care Northern Ireland has signed CliniSys to provide a single laboratory information system (LIMS) for pathology in its hospital trusts.

Doctor operating digital images on screen

The company will provide the latest version of WinPath Enterprise to replace the seven IT systems currently in use as part of the Core LIMS project.

It will also replace the legacy system used by the country’s genetics service with GLIMS Genomics.

The single LIMS will support the laboratories at Northern Ireland’s five acute trusts and the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service.

Jennifer Welsh, senior responsible owner of NIPIMS and chair of the Northern Ireland Pathology Network, said: “The decision to award a single LIMS contract is a big moment in the development of pathology services in Northern Ireland.

“This regional LIMS solution will generate accurate, real time information to enable laboratories to benchmark their performance and deliver new insights into the conditions for which tests are being run. The recent Covid-19 pandemic has shown how important it is to be able to pick up and track infections in the community.”

The Health and Social Care Board has been working with PathNetNI on a programme to modernise pathology services for the past five years.

Rising demand

A consultation in 2016 noted that laboratory tests are already involved in 70-80% of diagnoses, and that demand will grow as health and social care services respond to the needs of an ageing population, advances in cancer medicine, and the spread of genetic testing and precision medicine.

However, it concluded that pathology services in Northern Ireland would face significant challenges in meeting these demands without investment and reform.

This led to the proposal to create a single, integrated management structure for laboratories in Northern Ireland and to invest in a single LIMS and digital pathology.

Image from iStock, thomasandreas

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