The Dudley lab had a successful “big bang” go-live with WinPath Enterprise at the end of September and went-live with the Clinisys Integrated Clinical Environment, or ICE, at the same time.
ICE enables GPs and hospital clinicians to order pathology tests and radiology images, and Dudley has become the first site in the BCPS pathology network to deploy the latest version, which is designed to support mobile working.
Ravinder Sahota-Thandi, digital portfolio director at Dudley Group, said: "The benefits in both cases are similar.
"It means we are closer to working as one network, and that creates efficiencies, at a time when they are badly needed. It also delivers benefits for clinicians.
"If they work across the four trusts in the network, they no longer need to be trained in four different systems; and it is much easier to find results to inform patient care.
"The whole project is about being cognisant of the future, which is about working as one, integrated system, and providing the best possible care for patients, in the least disruptive way possible."
Black Country Pathology Services is one of the most advanced pathology networks in England. It has built a state-of-the-art pathology hub in Wolverhampton and developed four essential services laboratories at the major hospitals run by the four acute trusts it serves.
BCPS decided to deploy WinPath Enterprise at its hub and four satellite laboratories in 2018, as part of a drive to standardise working practices and deliver efficiency and quality benefits.
Since, then there have been 11 major go-lives for the LIMS as it has been deployed to the hub, the other labs, and different pathology disciplines.
As part of the year-long planning for its go-live, Dudley implemented the system in cellular pathology and transferred its microbiology work to the hub.
WinPath Enterprise was closely integrated with ICE, so results can be fed into the electronic patient record used by The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and other key IT systems, including those used for sepsis alerting and infection control.
Nick Fudger, head of pathology and IT transformation for BCPS, paid tribute to the work of everybody involved in the project.
"We are really proud of the way that we all worked together to make this happen," he said. "This was the biggest go-live to date, because the ICE implementation made a 'big bang' the only option.
"We had to make sure that hospital requesters and GPs would see minimum disruption in service, and that results were being delivered to every system that needed them.
"It was a big job, but it went very well. We’re already into business as usual and looking forward to the next set-of go-lives, as more services at other labs move over."
Before the go-live, Dudley was using a legacy LIMS from Clinisys and an order communications and results reporting system that didn't support both pathology and radiology.
Early feedback is that the new LIMS is "user friendly" and better at surfacing data to support the process of booking-in and running tests at the lab. The latest version of ICE is built to be 'mobile first' and to improve electronic ordering in all areas of diagnostics.
Even so, the successful go-live was only achieved with extensive user acceptance testing, which was carried out by BMSs, often in the early morning or after long day shifts.
Ravi said: "When we say we are proud of our teams, we really mean it. People really did go above and beyond to make sure that everything was working properly."
Felice Di Rienzo, professional services director at Clinisys said: "We have been working with BCPS since 2018, and we have all learned a lot along the way. The latest go-live at Dudley was very successful and it’s great to hear that it is already delivering benefits for its pathologists and for the clinicians and patients who depend on their work.
"We look forward to completing the roll-out of WinPath Enterprise and ICE at BCPS - and then to exploring how new ideas like sharing results across networks and regions can support the more integrated, personalised care that the NHS is striving to deliver, despite the huge pressures it is facing."
About CliniSysCliniSys, headquartered in Chertsey, England and Tucson, Arizona, is the largest provider of laboratory information systems, order entry and result consultation, and public health solutions in disease surveillance and outbreak management across the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. For 40 years, successfully specialising in complex and the wide scale delivery of comprehensive laboratory and public health solutions in over 3,000 laboratories across 34 countries using CliniSys solutions.
Our combined cross-discipline expertise provides customers with solutions to support laboratory workflow across clinical, histology, molecular, genetics, including order management, reporting and results delivery. Additionally, we serve laboratories in environmental testing, water quality, agriculture, and toxicology.