Secondary Care

Black Country Pathology Services progresses with laboratory network

Black Country Pathology Services is progressing with an initiative to digitally connect its laboratory network including four NHS trusts.

The Dudley Group, Sandwell and Birmingham, Walsall Healthcare, and The Royal Wolverhampton will be using the CliniSys laboratory information system to support a regional ‘hub and spoke’ model. Once the system is rolled-out, a central lab in Wolverhampton and ‘hot labs’ will support the hospitals in the network.

The group went live in cellular pathology in order to support the roll-out of a new screening process for cervical cancer in the Black Country. It had also chosen CliniSys ICE order communications and results reporting solution, serving 1,000 GPs and 14 colposcopy clinics across the region. In early March, due to the coronavirus, deployment of WinPath Enterprise in its microbiology services then became a priority.

As it resumes ‘business as usual’, Black Country Pathology Services will now complete the roll-out of the platform.

Group operational manager Graham Danks, said: “Covid-19 had a huge impact on our workforce. Work linked to elective care stopped. A seven-day service came into play for Covid-testing. And work on the LIMS was put on hold.”

“We were in the middle of user acceptance testing for the second phase of the roll-out, and due to go-live in June.”

“So, we decided to explore the art of the possible, so we could keep moving forward. Microbiology became the priority. We talked to CliniSys and the message was that we were ‘all in this together’, and they were ready to help us complete UAT2 so we could go-live. And that is what we did.”

Nick Fudger, Senior ICT programme manager, said: “From the outset, we have recognised that a single LIMS is essential to support communication, standardisation and harmonisation across the network. Our close working relationship with CliniSys enabled us to progress our plans during Covid-19, while focusing on microbiology and what was most important to them.”

“As we return to something like business as usual, our priority will be to go-live fully with the LIMS, to go-live with ICE, and to complete the EPR integration. That will enable us to make full use of our investment in IT as we develop the network and plan for growth and expansion.”