Published on: 11 February 2021

Janine.jpgLIMS Implementation Manager, Janine Bontoft, talks about plans for the implementation of a single Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) to support pathology services across the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Pathology Network. 

The challenge

People are living longer lives; however, more people are likely to have multiple long-term conditions, thereby increasing the demand on the health and social care system.

Pathology testing is a vital service which features in the diagnosis of more than 70% of patients, and the treatment of around 95% of patients. In West Yorkshire and Harrogate, the six NHS hospital trusts currently deliver pathology testing from 10 sites across the region, performing over 50 million tests each year. The demand for testing is continuing to rise at approximately 3% per year.

There is a strong case for implementation of a single Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) to support pathology services across the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Pathology Network:

There are a number of outdated and unsupported legacy systems in operation which pose a risk to service delivery and patient care. A new system will provide a resilient and sustainable solution for the future

Supporting management of increases in demand for pathology (rising by approximately 3% per year) and increasing quality and accreditation requirements for laboratories

Supporting workforce sustainability through provision of a modern system, giving the workforce the tools to do their jobs, supporting cross-site working and senior cover, with greater range and resilience of expertise to support the single LIMS

Supporting the standardisation of processes across the Network which will improve quality and efficiency and reduce unwarranted variation between services

The plan

The Network secured £12 million of funding to implement a single LIMS solution across the 6 WYAAT Trusts. My job is to help our labs harmonise practices and implement it, in a safe way. Over the next 18 months we will be configuring, integrating and testing it alongside the supplier, with a view to launching our first site in mid 2022.

Successes

When this project was first thought about, no one envisaged procuring and delivering it in the midst of a pandemic! Even though our pathology teams have been heavily impacted by Covid-19, the project team rallied together to get the procurement over the line and since my arrival in Dec 2020, have provided me with great support to get the project initiated.

Final thoughts

Whilst starting a project (and new job) in the middle of a pandemic has proved a challenge, the LIMS provides an amazing opportunity to give our labs state of the art technology and tools with which to create a truly modern laboratory and pave the way for the consolidation of pathology services across our region.

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