North West Anglia works with Clinisys to modernise pathology services

North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust has replaced two legacy laboratory information systems with a single instance of Clinisys WinPath. The trust, which serves a catchment of 800,000 patients in North Cambridgeshire and South Lincolnshire, found itself with two LIMS when it was formed out of the merger of Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals and Hinchingbrooke Health Care in 2017.

The new LIMS, plus an extension of the ICE order communications and results reporting system to Hinchingbrooke, will bring benefits for patients, staff and GPs by reducing reliance upon paper and delivering faster results to GPs and patients, regardless of where blood samples are taken or tested.  

In addition, the new system harmonises working practices and makes it easier for clinicians to view the results of tests taken across the trust’s three hospital sites. 

The LIMS and ICE deployments also align with the trust’s digital strategy to integrate a reduced number of IT systems with a new electronic patient record, and will enable further digital improvement projects and the maturing of the pathology network with neighbouring trusts.  

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. 

“The trust also wants to reduce the number of IT systems that it uses, and we are aligned with that by reducing the number of LIMS we have in use from two to one, and interfacing with other systems, including the electronic records used in maternity and ED.  

“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 laboratory at Peterborough and Stamford hospitals was using a legacy system installed around 30 years ago. The deployment of Clinisys WinPath enables them to benefit from the advances in pathology IT that have been made since then.  

The trust’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 laboratories.  

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.  

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