Black Country Pathology Services has gone live with a laboratory information system despite the coronavirus pandemic threatening to “turn everything upside down”.

The organisation is developing a pathology network for The Dudley Group, Sandwell and Birmingham, Walsall Healthcare, and The Royal Wolverhampton.

Since its launch in 2018, the Black Country Pathology Services has been running major programmes of work to procure new equipment, modernise logistics, and build a new pathology extension at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton.

However, the arrival of coronavirus in early March threatened to “turn everything upside down”, according to group operational manager Graham Danks.

In response, the programme rapidly adopted a remote working model and managed to deliver a number of project milestones, including a go-live for CliniSys’ WinPath Enterprise in its microbiology service.

In November 2018, the organisation decided to deploy CliniSys WinPath Enterprise as a single Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) to support communication and to standardise ways of working.

Danks said: “Covid-19 had a huge impact on our workforce. Work linked to elective care stopped. A seven-day service came into play for Covid-testing. And work on the LIMS was put on hold.

“We were in the middle of user acceptance testing for the second phase of the roll-out, and due to go-live in June.

“So, we decided to explore the art of the possible, so we could keep moving forward. Microbiology became the priority. We talked to CliniSys and the message was that we were ‘all in this together’, and they were ready to help us complete UAT2 so we could go-live. And that is what we did.”

Adam Clark, delivery director at CliniSys, added that it was “particularly pleasing” to be able to help the organisation with its go-live in “such adverse circumstances”.