The Sussex Pathology Network has chosen Clinisys for a laboratory information system (LIMS) that will help its labs to collaborate, building on the supportive relationship that developed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A single, hosted instance of WinPath Enterprise will replace the existing four live LIMS systems in use at the three trusts and seven laboratories within the network, of which two are at the end of their life.
The replacement of these LIMS systems is crucial to ensure that the labs maintain their capability to deliver a comprehensive range of pathology services, supporting vital aspects such as diagnosis and treatment decisions, blood transfusion, and trauma care.
An implementation team will work alongside laboratory and IT staff to make sure the new LIMS also supports consistent, efficient, and high-quality processes – so clinicians and patients receive the same service, wherever they work or live.
Emily Gaskell, programme director, pathology, at NHS Sussex, said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, our pathology laboratories worked more closely together, and that encouraged us to move forward and adopt the NHS England model for pathology networks.
“However, because most of the labs are spread along a long, thin, coastal patch, with very poor road communications, a hub and spoke model for all work is impractical.
“Instead, we want to focus on creating a consistent pathology service, so it doesn’t matter whether you get a test in Rye or in Chichester; you will get the same test, and the same quality of results, in the same appropriate timeframe.
“To do that, one LIMS is essential. We see Clinisys WinPath as a key enabler for the network, and critical to improving services for people in Sussex.”
The Sussex Pathology Network serves three trusts: East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, and Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
The two acute trusts; East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust serve a population of around 2.3 million people, while Queen Victoria Hospital provides specialist burns and plastic surgery to a much larger population covering Sussex, Kent, Surrey and parts of South London.
Across the three trusts more than 7 million tests are carried out each year, and demand is growing by 5% per year. WinPath Enterprise will provide a stable, safe and secure platform for these essential services.
It will also enable better communications so laboratories can share workload and expertise, and support remote working. And, in time, it will enable the introduction of automation and AI technologies, so highly trained pathologists can focus on urgent and complex cases, where their expertise is most needed.
Emily Gaskell said: “This is not the only project that the network has on. We also need to deliver our business-as-usual service, invest in our operating model and workforce, and secure new equipment and communications.
“But we are very keen to progress. The new LIMS is an important first step towards our vision for all clinicians, patients and residents across Sussex to have access to a seamless pathology service, with the right test in the right place at the right time – every time.”
Implementation is at an early stage, but the aim is to roll-out the new LIMS site by site, and to have the first two sites live by December next year.
Felice Di Rienzo, professional services director at Clinisys said: “We are delighted to be working with the Sussex Pathology Service on the deployment of this new LIMS. The project team want to work at pace, and we are absolutely up for that.
“We look forward to standing alongside the implementation team and the network’s clinicians as they roll-out Clinisys WinPath as a stable, secure and safe platform for pathology services today and in the future.”