Pathology services across one of England’s most-advanced health economies are to use a single laboratory information system (LIMS) from CliniSys.
One Dorset Pathology, which covers the three acute trusts within the Dorset Integrated Care System (ICS), which serves a population of around 800,000 people, will deploy WinPath Enterprise - a ‘next-generation’ LIMS designed to meet the specific needs of pathology networks.
The new solution will replace the 20-year-old pathology systems that are currently in use at the trusts, and support the creation of a state-of-the-art pathology hub.
The LIMS will be fully integrated with CliniSys’ order communications solution, ICE, to create an end-to-end workflow for ordering and conducting tests, while the creation of a single lab system will make it easier for clinicians to access the results from any hospital or GP practice.
The contract has also been structured so it lays the foundations for a group of hospital trusts in Hampshire and Wiltshire, known as Southern Counties Pathology, to use the same integrated pathology IT service in the future.
By having a single system, we will be able to open up results across the network, so that patients who have tests in one hospital will have the results available if they go to another hospital
Stephen Harding, head of service at One Dorset Pathology, said: “The new CliniSys LIMS is a significant enabler of the transformations we are looking to achieve.
“It would be difficult to run a consolidated testing service without a single LIMS, because our hub and spokes need to use the same processes and communicate effectively with each other.
“By having a single system, we will also be able to open up results across the network, so that patients who have tests in one hospital will have the results available if they go to another hospital. That will be a significant benefit and will significantly improve patient care and safety across the county.”
Dorset has three acute foundation trusts: The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals, Dorset County Hospital, and Poole Hospital. They have been working on a One NHS in Dorset vision for some years - initially as an acute care collaboration vanguard and, more recently, as an integrated care system.
As part of this work, and following Lord Carter of Coles’ report recommending the move to hub-and-spoke processing models, the three trusts agreed to set up One Dorset Pathology in 2016.
Following the proposal to form 29 pathology networks in England from NHS Improvement, One Dorset Pathology was credited with being the first new pathology network to launch a procurement for a common LIMS when it went out to tender the following year.
The new CliniSys LIMS is a significant enabler of the transformations we are looking to achieve
The procurement concluded last summer, with the network deciding to take WinPath Enterprise as a hosted solution.
One Dorset Pathology is now working with CliniSys to develop a rollout plan for the system.
The LIMS is likely to be deployed as a single activation, rather than a site-by-site go-live over the next 18 months.
“This is a major change, so we will be working hard to engage our clinicians and train them in the system and new ways of working,” Harding said.
“However, we are confident they will see that the processing systems the LIMS supports will be far more user-friendly and streamlined than our previous systems. We will no longer need the workarounds that we have to make use of now, just to make things happen.
“An important immediate benefit will be that we will have far better data on what is happening across our labs. At the moment, we have to run queries overnight, whereas CliniSys comes with visualisation tools and dashboards built in.
“We are also planning to replace all of our analytical equipment, and CliniSys will support the transition to our chosen analytic platforms as well.”
The Dorset ICS has a clear vision centred around integrated care, which, in the longer-term, will involve significant reconfiguration of local services, and the pathology network will support these changes.
All three trusts within One Dorset Pathology, and all but one of the six trusts within Southern Counties Pathology, have deployed CliniSys ICE to allow local GPs and some hospital wards to order tests electronically.
The integration between ICE and WinPath Enterprise will mean that the two systems will work together seamlessly.
Test results are already reported electronically. But the creation of a single system will make it easier for clinicians to access a single, patient-centred view of the results, irrespective of where they were conducted.
This should reduce the need for clinicians to order duplicate tests as patients move around the system, improving efficiency and patient safety.