Family doctors at 47 practices will be able to order pathology tests electronically for the first time, improving lab efficiency and care for patients.
Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust will use CliniSys ICE to enable GPs to order tests from its laboratories electronically for the first time.
The Trust, which serves a population of more than 460,000 people in Exeter, East and Mid-Devon, is planning to pilot the new system with five GP practices, before rolling it out to all 47 in its area.
At the laboratory end, ICE will be integrated with the SWIFT Lab laboratory information management system (LIMS). 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, which will go live in June 2020. Once this happens it will be integrated with the Epic Beaker LIMS module.
Sarah Hodder, Royal Devon and Exeter diagnostics cluster manager, said: “The roll-out would deliver significant benefits to GPs, as well as efficiencies for the laboratory service.
“At the moment, GPs that send samples to the RD&E 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.”
Although GPs still order tests on paper, they already receive the results electronically – this will continue but, in addition, 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 Cressida Auckland, pathology clinical lead, RD&E stated: ‘We are really excited to offer this requesting service – as well as the obvious benefits in terms of simplicity and accuracy, we hope to use it to develop Peninsular-wide order sets that will ensure the best possible use of our pathology services, and improve our investigation and treatment of our patients’.
The Trust and CliniSys are already working on the ICE roll-out and have identified five practices to pilot the system. The first practice is likely to go-live in November.
Richard Excell the programme manager confirmed that once the pilot is complete, the aim is to deploy to three practices a week and to have all 47 local practices ordering tests electronically by March next year.
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, said: “CliniSys is the market leader in GP requesting, and it is great to have that confirmed by Royal Devon and Exeter choosing ICE for this project.
“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 project will speed up processes between the lab and GPs and enable them to deliver more joined up care for patients.”