Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has halved the turnaround time for test results after going live with an in-house cancer diagnostic system.

The Haemato Oncology Diagnostic System, which the trust deployed in 2007, brings together different information about diagnostic tests in a ready-to-view format for clinicians.

Clinical staff can remotely book, request, track and report tests.

Danny Pearson, the quality and development lead at the trust, said that with nearly 8000 tests going through the trust laboratory each year, it had drastically reduced diagnosis time for patients.

“We’ve halved the turnaround time for results from 18 days to nine days for all the tests we do,” he said.

“The main benefits are that clinicians can see how the sample is progressing through the service and when the report is ready.”

Researchers at the trust, which runs a specialist cancer centre for blood and lymphatic cancer, created the software in collaboration with Illuminaries LTD.

The system can integrate with existing laboratory systems and includes a built-in audit and email notification tool.

“When a sample is requested, an email goes to say it’s on its way, or when the diagnosis has been done, it will send an email alert to the relevant person,” explained Pearson.

The web-based system can be accessed from any computer on the N3 network and is also used at Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

Clinical lead at Sheffield Teaching Hospital, Dr Malee Fernando, told EHI that because cancer was such a complicated disease, having the right diagnosis and the ability to view a complete picture of a patient’s test results within a shorter time frame was life-saving for patients.

“There are a lot of tests to get one diagnosis,” she said.

“The most important thing about the system is that it gives confidence in the diagnosis and the results given to me and about making sure the pathway is as smooth as possible for the patient.”