Four trusts within the Greater Manchester Pathology Network are set to deploy Clinisys’ laboratory information management system (LIMS) to support them in working more collaboratively and to improve services for clinicians and patients.
Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust will all be using Clinsys’s WinPath LIMS, and work is now underway to develop an interface for the systems to create an integrated, interoperable LIMS service across the network.
Katie Moss, programme director for the Greater Manchester Pathology Network, said: “The idea is that there should be a standardised system at each organisation and a standard interface across Greater Manchester, so we can view patient results in the Greater Manchester Care Record (GMCR) from all electronic patient records (EPRs).
“That should help to reduce unwarranted variation in the way tests are conducted and reported, supporting a more collaborative way of working. It should also make it easier for clinicians to see if a patient has had a test taken already, so they can avoid repeating the test or use the results to reach a faster diagnosis or treatment decision.”
The four trusts are all part of the Greater Manchester Pathology Network, which also includes The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Despite the network being one of the largest pathology networks in England, its laboratories are currently working with a mix of LIMS, some of which have reached the end of their life.
The trusts intend to have the new LIMS service in place in line with guidance from NHS England, which has developed a maturity matrix for pathology networks, that says modern IT systems should be in place by the end of 2024-25.
As part of the implementation of the new LIMS, work is being done to ensure that the systems all use the same test lists, coding and naming conventions. This collaborative approach will deliver the benefits of system-wide reporting and level up the region’s pathology service.
Phil Bell, digital systems lead for the Greater Manchester Pathology Network, said: “The four laboratories are working closely together to share knowledge which will accelerate the implementation and maximise the functionality of the new LIMS.
“The standardisation of test and profile descriptions, along with the common interfaces to EPR systems and the GMCR, will provide a user-friendly view of pathology results for all Greater Manchester clinicians. This marks an important advance in pathology standardisation and demonstrates how the benefits can be realised downstream from the lab systems.”
The Greater Manchester Pathology Network has also worked with Sectra this year to deploy a digital pathology module to its enterprise imaging solution at Stockport. As the rest of the laboratories in the network deploy the same, it will support the region’s pathologists to swap microscopes for digital images.