The awarding of a £15.9m contract will bring lab results for patients across the NHS in Wales under one login, with an innovative new technology company providing the means to transform pathology services. This will be the largest and most inclusive single laboratory information management system in the UK.
This significant investment by NHS Wales in the nation’s healthcare will modernise and transform pathology services and will result in better care, faster and more targeted treatments, and improved health outcomes for patients across the country.
This new system means clinicians will have access to all their patient’s results under one virtual roof regardless of which departments carried out the tests. The new system is particularly useful for patients who have multiple conditions and have tests carried out across a range of health centres.
The contract has been awarded to Citadel Health for its Evolution vLab Information Management System software. This will replace the current three separate systems to create a single, world-class modern pathology network connecting every clinician, lab and hospital in Wales with a complete patient test management solution all via a single login.
For more than 30 years, Citadel Health has been providing specialist healthcare software to transform clinical diagnostics and digital health management across the world,
Pathology underpins 95% of all clinical pathways and 70% of all diagnoses in Wales, therefore the opportunity to unlock efficiencies throughout the health system is significant. With the pressure on testing services brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of treating a growing and ageing population, often with multiple coexisting conditions, the need for a modern pathology network has never been greater.
Once live, the system will manage the more than 35 million tests that are processed each year by 21 NHS Wales pathology labs, and support every hospital, clinic and GP nationwide.
Previously, doctors had to contact different departments, navigate multiple applications and screens to get a full record of results. With Citadel Health’s solution, laboratories, hospitals and clinicians will have faster access to accurate, real-time pathology information across every discipline at their fingertips. This will help to:
Enhance clinical decision-making, laboratory operations, and quality of care across every laboratory, hospital and GP surgery in Wales
Provide a faster and more efficient service for clinicians, enabling enhanced cost savings and increasing the amount of time spent on patient care. (The NHS Wales LINC Programme Business Case revealed potential financial benefits equating to approximately £4 million per annum)
Improve the quality and speed of diagnosis for patients, reducing the need for repeat testing and giving patients access to the best pathology services available in Wales, wherever they are based
- Benefit patients who have multiple conditions or who are supported by clinicians in a range of departments, as the system aggregates the patient record in a single repository
Citadel Health has a twenty-year track record of providing unified public pathology networks for healthcare across Australia’s population of 25 million people spread the length and breadth of the continent. Working across regional and remote areas, some a great distance away from major health facilities, the company has delivered services to disparate populations, helping to provide a level playing field between those living in rural and urban locations.
Citadel Health’s UK subsidiary, Wellbeing Software, has a significant footprint in the UK with its radiology and maternity software solutions installed in over 80 per cent of all NHS Trusts.
Stephen Lynch, Executive General Manager at Citadel Health commented: “The Covid pandemic has placed unprecedented demands on clinical testing services worldwide, reinforcing the case for investment and transformation of digitally enabled healthcare systems to meet evolving needs.
“For clinicians and patients alike, getting test results as quickly and accurately as possible is essential to allow them to make timely decisions about treatments and ultimately provide the best possible outcomes.
“Our cutting-edge technology provides a unified pathology pathway to help people now, and into the future, as new tests and services are developed to meet growing demands. We’re proud to be working with NHS Wales – an organisation that is leading the way in digital transformation of healthcare in the UK – we are delighted to be working alongside them on this journey.”
Judith Bates, LINC Programme Director, NHS Wales said: “This is an exciting time for the Pathology service. LINC (Laboratory Information Network Cymru) is looking forward to working with Citadel Health, in partnership with Digital Health and Care Wales and NHS Wales Pathology services, to ensure the new LIMS (Welsh Laboratory Information Management System) is developed to meet NHS Wales requirements and safely deployed across all Pathology laboratories and services.”
Kevin Williams, Lead Pathology Matter Subject Expert, NHS Wales commented: “This has been a very successful procurement involving a tremendous amount of engagement and effort from staff across multiple organisations. As a result of the logistical challenges created by COVID-19, we have learned to work remotely in an entirely different way, making the best use of technology to facilitate the work involved, including supplier demonstrations, supplier dialogue and virtual site visits across the world.”
The contract with NHS Wales is to supply the Evolution vLab software for seven years, with the option to extend for a further two years. This future-proofed system will begin to roll out in 2023.