Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust has selected CliniSys ICE to enable GPs in the region to order pathology tests from its laboratories.
A pilot of the new system, expected to begin in November, will allow GPs at five practices to order tests electronically for the first time.
It’s then expected to be rolled out to all 47 practices in the region by March next year.
The ICE system will be integrated into the trusts SWIFT Lab laboratory information management system (LIMS).
Sarah Hodder, Royal Devon and Exeter diagnostics cluster manager, said the roll-out would deliver significant benefits to GPs, as well as greater efficiencies for the laboratory service.
“At the moment, GPs that send samples to the trust have to send a request card with them and we have to manually input the information from the request card into our LIMS,” she said.
“That uses valuable staff time and can leave the process open to potential errors. In the future, GPs will still need to send us physical samples, but ICE will remove the paper that comes with them. It will be much more modern and streamlined.”
The trust is currently undertaking a major clinical transformation programme called MY CARE, which includes building and implementing a new electronic patient record system from Epic, due to go live in June 2020.
Once live it will be integrated with the Epic Beaker LIMS module.
GPs currently order the tests from the trust on paper, but receive the results electronically.
Under the new system, GPs will be able to access all the results of tests undertaken in secondary care.
In addition the MY CARE programme will eventually provide a clinical portal that will allow GPs to view other information relating to their patients care in the hospital.
Implementation will create an end-to-end process for GPs to order tests and receive results electronically, making it simpler and quicker to access pathology services.
Dr Mick Braddick, GP at the Chiddenbrook Surgery in Crediton, said: “This electronic system will provide ‘just in time’ guidance to GPs and practice nurses, so they request the optimum set of tests for a particular problem, and reduce the chance of repeating a test done elsewhere recently.
“This guidance can be overruled by the test requestor if they consider their patient to be exceptional. It will improve the quality of the care we provide and is very welcome.”
Matthew Foreman, delivery director at CliniSys, added: “Electronic requesting is something that the trust and GPs have been keen to progress for some time, and everybody involved is very excited that it is happening.”
The trust was granted approval to implement an electronic patient record (EPR) from Epic in 2017, more than four years after it selected the US-based firm as its preferred supplier.
The trust board approved £42m of funding to introduce the EPR, with work to implement the system beginning on 18 September, 2017.
A go-live date has been set for Summer 2020.
In July this year it was revealed CliniSys had secured contracts to provide its requesting and reporting software to seven out of eight new laboratory hubs selected to deliver NHS England’s primary HPV screening service.