CliniSys is leaving its old office in Sauchiehall Street and moving around the corner to Bothwell Street. Chief executive Richard Craven reflects on a bittersweet moment; one that closes a chapter on the company’s 30-year history in Scotland, while opening a new one for the long-term.
On Friday, we will mark the end of an era for CliniSys in Scotland, as we say goodbye to our offices in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street. This will mark the start of a new era as we formally open our new offices just around the corner, in the Onyx building on Bothwell Street.
It’s a bittersweet moment. We asked Graeme Chalk, who has worked in the old office for 32 years, on his thoughts on the move. He says ‘on the one hand I will miss the hustle and bustle of the Sauchiehall Street; however, it’s also an exciting moment as we’re moving to modern offices that are built to support flexible, creative patterns of working’.
We’re confirming our commitment to Scotland and to delivering the excellent development, testing and support services that our customers rightly expect from us. The new office is much more conducive to a growing healthcare IT company like CliniSys and it is just one of many initiatives we are planning to ensure we can attract and develop talent in Scotland that will deliver the innovation that the laboratory, clinicians and patients will need in the future.
A thirty-year presence in Scotland
CliniSys has had a presence in Scotland since the Berkeley / Torex days well over 30 years ago. In that time, our local development teams have ensured localisation of our global products ensuring regional compliance such as SCIStore and ECOSS interfacing to name but two. Laboratory IT was very different in those early days with users having big, green screen terminals. There was no hint of a graphical interface and no mouse; so navigating around the system meant moving a cursor around a screen. Now, an increasing number of customers take WinPath Enterprise as a hosted solution; and we are moving into the world of cloud computing and digital pathology.
WinPath Enterprise can be integrated seamlessly with other hospital systems using HL7/FHIR messaging. And, thanks to developers in our Scottish office, it offers the advanced analytics and business reporting that our customers need to monitor what is happening across their labs and to help design new services.
Our Management Reporting dashboards can be viewed on any device with an internet connection, including iPads and smartphones; so, in 30 years, we have gone from green screen to touch screen.
Responding to the needs of our customers
These changes to laboratory IT have been made in response to changes in how diagnostic laboratory services are delivered. Thirty years ago, every hospital would have a laboratory service, but those labs would operate independently of each other and of other clinical services.
That’s no longer the case. More and more laboratory services operate across multiple sites, in networks that are organised at a regional or even a national level. Increasingly, they are also expected to operate on a commercial basis.
That’s why WinPath Enterprise was built with the needs of networks in mind, and why we have invested so heavily in the analytic tools and dashboards developed by our Glasgow team. At the same time, diagnostic laboratories have become recognised as a critical element in the journey from diagnosis to the treatment and care of patients.
Clinicians don’t just want to order tests electronically, they want to receive the results alongside other information in the electronic patient record, so they can avoid repeat testing and make decisions on the most up-to-date and comprehensive information available.
The CliniSys ICE order communications and results reporting system makes that possible and, increasingly, we are seeing customers buy WinPath Enterprise and ICE together. Some 47% of Scotland’s health boards use a CliniSys Laboratory Information management System and 47% use a CliniSys Order Communications System; and three of those customers use both – including our reference site at NHS Ayrshire and Arran.
Changing needs in a changing world
The large customer base that we are proud to have built in Scotland is one of the reasons that we were determined to find new more appropriate offices in Glasgow when the lease on our Sauchiehall base came up for renewal. Customers can be assured that when we open the doors on our new office suite, it will be business as usual.
We’ll answer the phone, support deployments, keep everything up and running. However, we didn’t want to simply swap one office for another; we wanted to find better. Initially, that meant finding a base that would enable our support, development and testing teams to work more closely together.
Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it meant finding offices that would enable our teams to work effectively in the new world of hybrid working. For the past year, almost all our employees have been working from home, and thanks to our investment in collaboration software that has worked well.
Even so, we expect that as lockdown lifts people will want to head into the office for face-to-face meetings, to catch up with their teams, and to recharge their energy and creativity. The refurbished Onyx building provides the perfect set-up for that, with plenty of facilities for cyclists and runners, walk-in meeting spaces, and a café.
Our new office will better support developers across the CliniSys Group, especially from our European business, CliniSys | MIPS, and our sister company SunQuest to work alongside our Glasgow based developers and testers on new products and innovations.
CliniSys is investing in our people, we are also keen to offer opportunities to young people who are just starting their careers. We have offered internships and graduate placements in the past and will do that again. In fact, we are already looking at how we can work with local universities to achieve this.
Ready for the next thirty years (or more)
Collaboration and creativity will be vital to our future because we know that neither laboratory diagnostics nor IT is going to stand still. The next big thing coming down the line is genomics. We have just launched our genetic LIMS, named GLIMS Genomics, in the UK, after a successful development and first deployment in France.
The launch has generated a huge amount of interest, because everybody can see that being able to link genomic tests with traditional tests and the information in the electronic patient record is the route to precision medicine. We have a vision for doing just that, and it opens exciting opportunities for our customers.
Scotland has an amazing ecosystem of technology companies that CliniSys can partner with to provide a broader set of solutions to our customers. Consequently, CliniSys has partnered with Brightsolid who have offices, facilities and data centres in Dundee, Aberdeen and Edinburgh and is our hosting partner in Scotland.
Look back, leap forward
This is a bittersweet moment, but it’s more sweet than bitter. With our new Glasgow office, we are making an investment in the future. One that recognises CliniSys’ history in Scotland, our determination to deliver a great service for our customers, and our commitment to the future.
After 30 years in Scotland, we know the nuances of the market (we know it’s the CHI Number and not the NHS Number…). But as a large, international company, we also know that we have the resources and the capacity to attract talent, to work with national bodies and health boards on innovation, and to deliver the service that clinicians expect, and patients deserve.
On a personal note, there is just one thing I will really miss about the office in Sauchiehall Street. The piper whose Scottish classics would drift in over conference calls from the meeting room overlooking the street. Perhaps we’ll ask him to come round and play a tune in the new building. Just for auld times’ sake.
CliniSys in Scotland
To find out more about how CliniSys is supporting the health boards in Scotland please click below.