Enable an extension of the existing GLIMS solution – originally deployed at a single hospital – across all three of its sites.
A harmonised solution for the healthcare provider, boosting the efficiency of its laboratory services.
Namur, Mont-Godinne, Dinant
CHU UCL Namur (Belgium) enhances consistency and performance by implementing the GLIMS LIS across three sites
In 2011, CHU Mont-Godinne decided to implement the GLIMS laboratory information system (LIS). The project was led by Professor François Mullier, who is today Head of the Haematology-Haemostasis Laboratory. When the hospital merged with CHU Dinant, deploying GLIMS at the latter site was the obvious choice.
A few years later, within the context of the ‘health pool’ policy adopted by the Belgian federal and regional authorities, the healthcare enterprise again merged, this time with the Sainte-Elisabeth hospital in Namur. This created a challenge of how to achieve LIS consistency across the different sites. Today, GLIMS has been deployed, and is being used, on all three sites – with highly satisfactory results.
Implementing GLIMS in 2011 brought about a period of significant change for CHU Mont-Godinne, recalls Professor Mullier. “We were using very old software, which was still running on the DOS operating system. So, really, we had to start from scratch, and we rebuilt everything.”
“In 2014, following the first merger, we integrated the Dinant site. Management informed us that we needed to implement GLIMS very quickly at CHU Dinant, in order to be operational in January 2015.”
“Then, in May 2016, after the merger with the Sainte-Elisabeth hospital, we worked to deploy GLIMS on that site – for April 2017. So these projects each had very tight implementation times.”
Consistency and harmonisation
Within the context of improving the performance and efficiency of the services offered by the laboratories, the standardisation of all downstream processes was an essential first step in moving towards a new computer system.
Biology laboratories carry out thousands of different types of analyses. For each of these, the sampling methods, the types of tubes to use, the storage conditions, the devices performing the analyses – all need to be defined and configured. For the results as well, units, reference values, and more must also be defined. And when new laboratories are being integrated, these elements must be made consistent for all of them.
The analysis codes and the descriptions of the analyses for the request codes were harmonised. “At the time of the first merger, with Dinant, we decided to use the same analysis codes as the Godinne site. But when integrating Sainte Elisabeth, we had to come to an agreement for a whole series of analyses, because for some of them the range of normal values was different depending on whether they were handled at Sainte-Elisabeth or at Godinne, “says Professor Mullier.
Aligning administrative management
“In addition, each of the three sites had a different patient administration management system. In other words, when a patient was admitted, the number assigned by Dinant (or Sainte-Elisabeth) had to be converted into a Godinne admission number, which took a lot of time. At the end of 2016, the Dinant and Godinne administrative systems were harmonised, which facilitated the processes,” explains Professor Mullier.
Billing was another challenge. “Our previous software didn’t allow optimisation of clinical biology invoices. It was necessary to revise the billing, which required a lot of work. We had to come to agreements between the sites for every rate billed to the patient. We also had to reach agreements regarding sub-contractors and rates for analyses carried out by external laboratories. After completing these steps, we were able to parameterise GLIMS.”
Strong project management
Professor Mullier highlights the importance of MIPS’ support in achieving a successful transition for CHU UCL Namur. “MIPS demonstrated very strong project management. The methodology was rigorous and efficient. For each step, a precise planning was provided. After parametrisation, training began quickly. We were very well supported by MIPS, which enabled us to meet our deadlines while respecting our resources. We were also able to capitalise on our first experience and become more and more autonomous for the following projects,” he highlights.
Training and involvement: the keys to success
Staff training plays a key role in the success and efficiency of a project’s implementation. “Within the process, the training of the laboratory technicians and the secretaries was a key step,” describes Marc Chatelain, who managed the GLIMS project at Sainte-Elisabeth.
“As the third site to adopt GLIMS, we were able to capitalise on the learnings from Godinne and Dinant. The technicians who trained the staff at the first two sites brought their extensive experience to their training at Sainte-Elisabeth,” he continues.
“Employee involvement is a key success factor in transitioning to GLIMS. The user-friendliness of the solution enabled a fast adoption by users, and the involvement each person showed in the project clearly contributed significantly to its success.”
Proven efficiency gains
“The challenges raised in this project were linked in particular with deploying our specific processes,” highlights Marc Chatelain. “On the GLIMS side, all of the interfaces with the laboratory instruments were immediately operational, but we still had a lot of work internally to parameterise the analyses, to standardise how we worked, etc. Step by step, we found solutions and successfully completed the stages. Today, I am very pleased with the performance of the system and the efficiency gains we have achieved.”
Benefits for requesting physicians
GLIMS has also enabled the Godinne site to implement electronic requesting integrated with the electronic patient record (EPR). This optimises ordering of clinical biology analyses, simplifies sample handling, and eliminates the need for the laboratory administrative staff to enter the analysis data.
“Transparency for the requesting physicians is critical,” Marc Chatelain describes. To ensure this transparency, he took the time needed to raise awareness and to communicate about the project. “At the Sainte-Elisabeth hospital, I presented the new solution and spoke with the doctors on the Medical Council and the department heads. I paid close attention to their requests and negotiated with them to ensure a result that worked for all of the parties, especially in terms of results turnaround time for urgent requests. Before the system’s implementation, I visited each unit, demonstrating the new request forms and the way it all worked.”
Today, with all of the steps completed, Marc Chatelain is very complimentary about the implementation of this solution that has brought so many advantages to the requesting physicians. “Overall, everything went well at Sainte-Elisabeth. Some of the departments didn’t even notice the change. Everything is centralised: results are communicated directly to the requester, regardless of which site carried out the analysis. And with the new system, the physicians can also find all of the results from previous analyses, which is an important benefit for them.”
Implementing GLIMS multi-site? A few words of advice…
François Mullier concludes with some advice, based on his own experience, for optimising the deployment of a multi-site GLIMS solution. “The most important element is at the start of the chain: specifically, the patient database. Then, to ensure the effectiveness of the entire process, training for staff, especially laboratory technicians and administrative assistants, is absolutely crucial. Finally, it is also important to communicate with the general practitioners and to check the end of the chain, i.e. billing.”
“We chose GLIMS because of its high level of performance. We all agree: GLIMS offers a range of possibilities that is unmatched in the LIS market.”
- A centralised system and standardised operations for the three sites, all of the laboratory departments and the blood bank.
- Sample tracking:
At all times, it is possible to locate a sample; check the time it left the sampling site, the time it was received and on which site; see how many samples were sent and received, and when the results were communicated; etc.
- Customisable billing:
The billing module can be easily parameterised based on specific criteria, for example the number of reimbursements authorised per year, the cumulation rules, etc. It is also possible to respond quickly and easily to the fast-changing regulatory requirements.
- Possibility to create various user profiles, beyond “administrator” and “user”.
- Significant decrease in paper usage:
Documents are no longer printed in the microbiology laboratory – which also reduces the possibility of errors linked to the human interpretation of handwritten information.
- Very significant simplification and increase in efficiency:
Time savings from dispatching the analyses, biological validation, results sharing, access to the patient’s history, decreased data entry burden and more.
- Ease of data extraction for statistical analyses.