Technology ensures clinicians can request tests for COVID-19 patients and receive results electronically
Adam Clark, delivery director at CliniSys
CliniSys has delivered a laboratory link for the NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol so clinicians can request tests for patients and receive the results electronically.
The pathology systems specialist responded rapidly to a request from Severn Pathology for a piece of integration work linking the IT systems used by the labs at North Bristol NHS Trust with those at the Nightingale Bristol, which are run out of University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust.
The integration enables the CliniSys WinPath laboratory information system used by North Bristol to pick up requests for tests placed in the version of CliniSys ICE used by the Nightingale Bristol and return the results through the ICE system.
Pathology services manager, David Gibbs, explains: “The Nightingale Bristol is designed to provide the highest level of specialist care for critically-ill coronavirus patients in the Severn area critical care network.
“Diagnostics is vital to running an ITU, so as preparations were made for the new facility, we knew that it would need to be linked up with the labs at North Bristol, which can run all of the tests required.
“Getting NHS IT systems to talk to each other can be notoriously difficult, but CliniSys developed a plan and executed it very quickly, working over the Easter holidays. We went from the seemingly impossible to having a slick solution in a matter of days.”
Getting NHS IT systems to talk to each other can be notoriously difficult, but CliniSys developed a plan and executed it very quickly. We went from the seemingly impossible to having a slick solution in a matter of days
Severn Pathology, a partnership between North Bristol NHS Trust and Public Health England, has installed blood gas analysers and other point-of-care devices at the Nightingale Bristol to take these measurements. However, clinicians also need to conduct other tests that cannot be carried out on site.
Gibbs explained: “Patients with COVID-19 who are being ventilated are in an induced coma, so they cannot tell a nurse or a doctor that they are thirsty or tired. Clinicians need to check whether their kidneys and their circulatory system are working and find out whether they are anaemic or suffering from a secondary infection.
“It is critical for them to be able to order tests for those, and many other, conditions and for the results to be integrated into the patient management system they are using.
“The integration work that CliniSys carried out means that clinicians have all the data they need together, in one place.”
Tim Whittlestone, medical director at the NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol, and deputy medical director at North Bristol NHS Trust, added: “The integration work required to ensure separate IT systems are able to talk to each other has been vital to support the wider health picture of people with COVID-19.
Our work with CliniSys and other digital partners means that our hospital is completely paperless, which not only increases our efficiency, but supports the health and safety of patients and staff
“It was a daunting and complex exercise to ensure the pathology and testing aspects of the project were put in place, but due to the expertise of CliniSys and the collaborative energy of those involved, it became one of the most straightforward.
“Our work with CliniSys and other digital partners means that our hospital is completely paperless, which not only increases our efficiency, but supports the health and safety of patients and staff.”
NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol will provide up to 300 intensive care beds for coronavirus patients, if local services in the Severn region need them.
And Severn Pathology has undertaken additional steps to support the NHS response to the coronavirus, using NPEx, the national pathology network, to link the labs across the south west of England, so they can spread the load of testing.
It has also redeployed staff who are not carrying out tests to support routine work onto the COVID-19 effort.
Adam Clark, delivery director at CliniSys, said: “When Severn Pathology came to us with this request we were determined to respond.
“The Nightingale Bristol could not operate without the pathology services that North Bristol provides, so this piece of integration work was an important part of making this happen.
“Technically, we were able to use the CliniSys Integration Manager to get information from ICE into WinPath and back again and make sure Bristol’s clinicians are in the best-possible position to respond to the crisis.”