Milton Keynes General NHS Trust has announced that it has gone live with the WinPath pathology system from software developers CliniSys.

The trust’s previous pathology system, OPUS from Supporta plc, needed replacing urgently because Milton Keynes was the only user remaining and there were concerns over ongoing support, development, and hardware issues.

The new WinPath system went first live in the trust’s pathology department at the beginning of July. It was timed to go live with the June 2006 installation of Cerner Millennium by the local service provider (LSP) Fujitsu, but Fujitsu postponed Millennium’s implementation. 

Jill Beech, pathology systems and quality manager at the trust, told E-Health Insider: “The CRS go-live slipped. This was identified as a project risk as the Trust had very little control over LSP implementation slots.

"This slippage, however, meant the pathology project increased in scope and complexity as we now also had to manage the introduction of a ward enquiry system that would bridge the gap to CRS. This alone was a mammoth piece of work.”

Beech added that an LSP-friendly system was an absolute necessity as it still had to interface with Cerner Millennium. As CliniSys were already aligned to the London LSP, the trust didn’t have to worry about connectivity and future-proofing concerns.

Good preparation, staff involvement, direct communication with the software company and flexibility to allow for the system to be implemented were important, she said. 

“The project preparation stage was invaluable; after all, we had been actively engaged in a procurement process of one sort or another for five years,” she explained.

“Our project team knew the Output Based Specification, and hence our requirements, inside out. The numerous site visits helped to clarify user perspectives. Scientists don’t work on trust; they need to see a system actually do what the sales team claim it will and understand the work flow processes involved.”

She added that good communications within the trust and with the suppliers were important and “ensured that all staff were aware of what they could expect for go-live. They were familiar with the deliverables of the contract and this helped manage expectations.”

Beech said that the trust staff had been reassured by the supplier’s knowledge and that they had shown experience of implementation in tight timeframes. The hospital had had its IT infrastructure previously upgraded to help cope with new software.

Kevin Watts, CliniSys’ Southern regional business manager said: “Our partnership with Milton Keynes at all levels complemented the dedication and drive of Milton Keynes’ staff to ensure that the solution went live within the required three months.”

David Newell, group business development director for CliniSys, told EHI: “We are confident that this new NHS contract will help to raise awareness of our specialist systems and more trusts will be interested in working with us and investing in our expertise.

Newell said that as well as working with BT in London the company is “looking at further opportunities with the LSPs across all of the CfH clusters.”

CliniSys’s WinPath has already been selected as the strategic pathology solution for the NHS in London and by Ireland’s health service.

The company says it is committed to maintaining required integration into the local Care Record Service solutions and the National Spine.


Milton Keynes’ Cerner implementation postponed