A new pathology information system detected a potentially fatal error within 24 hours of going live across two hospitals in north west London and enabled staff to take action.

Cerner Corporation, suppliers of the PathNet Laboratory Information System to North West London Hospitals NHS Trust, report that the error was flagged up to clinical staff by the system and allowed prompt, preventive and possibly life saving action to be taken.

One of the advanced features of the system is clinical validation which provides an automatic check on results before they are released. Anomalies are flagged for clinical staff.

Dr Phil Collins, Cerner’s European marketing director said, “The implementation proves that an NHS Trust can realise a vision of adopting information technology to provide better, safer care to the community it serves.”

The system has been implemented across the trusts two large hospitals – Central Middlesex and Northwick Park – as part of a major investment to merge the two hospital laboratories into one unit.

Cerner says the project was completed on time and has transformed the processes involved in managing 6.5m pathology procedures a year through the hospitals. All four modules of PathNet – general laboratory, microbiology, anatomic pathology and blood transfusion – have been implemented.