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Collaborative solutions fora Global Pandemic

Working together to respond

The coronavirus pandemic has touched every corner of the globe, and with all eyes on finding solutions, our teams across the UK and Europe have been working together to build rapid solutions to support the battle against COVID-19.

In the UK we supported four Nightingale Hospitals and helped deliver agile, sustainable solutions supporting rapid reporting to our customers. In Belgium we helped create a federal platform for COVID-19 testing. In the Netherlands we connected GGD laboratories, while in France we supported the government in its pandemic response. In Austria, our software supports the “Alles gurgelt” testing campaign run by the City of Vienna. In Germany we quickly responded to interfacing requirements for customers.

Some of the challenges our customers have faced include: 

  • Rapid increase in demand for testing capacity 
  • Unprecedented workload around specific clinical areas, such as Microbiology 
  • New equipment and new procedures 
  • Enhanced reporting 
  • More stringent health & safety procedures

Robust and reliable IT solutions have been essential to reduce the pressure and streamline these new processes while working seamlessly with disparate healthcare IT systems and increased out of hours support. 

Drawing on our existing scalable systems, we have reacted quickly to support governments and health organisations across the UK and Europe, developing both rapid response solutions and sustainable innovations which will support and improve testing and reporting in the long term.

Support for Nightingale Hospitals

The Nightingale hospitals in the UK were designed to provide the highest level of specialist care for critically ill coronavirus patients. Diagnostics is vital to running an ITU, so these new facilities needed to be linked up with the local laboratory services, which perform all of the tests required. 

It is critical to be able to order tests for a range of conditions and for the results to be integrated into the incumbent patient management system. The integration work that we carried out means that clinicians have all the data they need together, in one place. 

We were able to use the CliniSys Integration Manager to facilitate the necessary integration and pass information from the ICE electronic requesting system into the WinPath LIMS and back again. 

Delivering agile, sustainable solutions

Mr Tim Whittlestone, medical director, NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol explains: “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 Nightingale Bristol 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.” 

We went from the seemingly impossible to having a slick solution for the Nightingale Bristol in a matter of days.

David Gibbs, Severn Pathology Services Manager

Supporting rapid results reporting

In collaboration with Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), we have developed our ICE system to send negative COVID-19 test results to staff as a standard text message (SMS) through the Trust’s telecommunications system.  

This saves the Trust many hours that would otherwise have been spent on administration and telephone calls. It also gets negative results to staff faster, so they can return to work, leave temporary accommodation, or tell their families they can leave self-isolation if they are symptom-free. 

This new feature can also be configured for different tests or different results. 

Using ICE to generate text messages will speed up the process and avoid lots and lots of telephone calls.

Shaun Goldsmith, ICE and Microbiology System Manager,
Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Developing new analytical platforms in the UK

Novel PCR testing devices have typically been used for life sciences and veterinary medicine and haven’t been designed to integrate with LIMS. 

To avoid delays which would impact our customers and patient health, we developed a solution before we had an order. 

Our developments were based on example device outputs and with discussions with developers of multiple international suppliers so we would be ready with solutions as soon as possible. 

Supporting National Reporting 

Our customers have to adhere to the mandatory National surveillance project involving NHS Improvement, NHSX and X-Labs to introduce National Pathology Exchange (NPEx) integration across all NHS hospitals.  

Our response to this integration project was rapid, completing installation and testing of the NPEx interface at 47 sites in under 8 weeks. 

Our customers are also required to comply with the national recording of COVID-19 results with testing data being sent to Public Health England (PHE). This was readily achieved by the flexibility of our existing CoSurv/SGSS reporting modules within WinPath. 

Regional COVID-19 Pathology Testing Hubs and Control Centres  

We developed COVID-19 Dashboards – real-time alerts of COVID-19 patient result status for labs and clinicians. Two versions of the COVID-19 Dashboard have been developed: 

  • Laboratory Based – as used by National virology laboratory in Belfast serving the whole of Northern Ireland 
  • COVID Control Centre based – as used by Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust (a COVID-19 testing hub) 

For these high throughput environments, it is essential that testing status is easily identifiable to allow necessary prioritisation.

“The ability to provide our teams with real-time live updates of COVID-19 testing statuses is delivering real clinical and operational benefits.” 

Phil Hadley, Pathology IT Services Manager, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

The ICE Portal

We continue to innovate and develop solutions to meet existing and future healthcare needs. Based on recent COVID-19 experiences we have created the ICE Portal to help solve the issue of mass population test kit requesting and tying the results back to the existing patient record. Simple configuration allows the application to be used in three different ways. 

  • Requesting of home testing kit with upload of test results 
  • Requesting of home sampling kit to be returned for lab processing 
  • Uploading of results from home testing kit supplied by a third party 

Once the user has submitted their result it will be immediately viewable in ICE and standard ICE functionality allows this to be reported back to the user’s GP. 

CyberLab at heart of French testing platform 

The French government has established the national SI-DEP IT platform to request laboratory tests, return the test results to requesting clinicians and to the patients, to feed the information into the government’s contact tracing app, and to store the results securely in a national database. 

At the heart of the platform is CyberLab, our web-based order entry and result consultation application, which can easily be linked to all the LIS systems used in France and is capable of processing large volumes of data, independent of their origins. 

The French government, together with the Assistance Public – Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP) hospitals and CliniSys | MIPS, succeeded in building this platform in just two months.  

Today, there are 374 GHT’s (Groupement Hospitalier de Territoire) and hospitals, and approximately 4,500 private laboratories connected to the platform. Together, they can process up to 800,000 test results per day. 

800,000

Consultations

More then 800,000 consultations in the national SI-DEP IT platform in one day.

350,000

Order entries

Up to 350,000 order entries in the national SI-DEP IT platform in one day.

A federal platform for Belgium 

The Federal Government in Belgium set up a consortium of university hospitals and software, biotech, and pharmaceutical companies to increase testing capacity.  

A cloud-based IT platform is now in place to digitally support the workflow and to ensure that the information could be shared, optimally between the various laboratories, governmental agencies, care providers, and contact tracers, using GLIMS laboratory information system and CyberLab results ordering and reporting software. 

We assigned a team to the project to support the government in their approach to this crisis, and within 17 days of the initial request, the system generated its first results. The entire process was based on a standard approach and a method was developed to automate the testing in short order. This made it possible to add an extra laboratory in less than a week. 

Our team is also actively involved in the roll-out of ‘Platform.bis’ to further expand testing capacity so that all recognised Belgian laboratories can process a total of 70,000 to 90,000 tests per day.

Connecting GGD laboratories in the Netherlands 

Dutch residents who show symptoms of coronavirus infection can be tested at a GGD (Gemeenschappelijke Gezondheidsdiensten) test site. This wide-ranging, national COVID-19 screening uses a central IT platform called the ‘CoronIT-platform’. 

CliniSys | MIPS helped set up this new platform connecting the 12 laboratories that work directly with the GGDs, all of whom use our LIS, GLIMS. We have also integrated a further 15 laboratories that perform analyses when the GGD testing labs have reached their capacity limits.  

Now all of the connected laboratories can seamlessly receive electronic orders for COVID-19 analyses and send the results back to the GGDs. 

Supporting the COVID-19 response in Germany

In response to both a financial change and the new corona contact tracing app that was commissioned by the German government, our team has adapted the processes related to SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics in Germany, such as the transfer of data and the invoicing of the accompanying laboratory services. 

We have enabled interfaces between a whole series of laboratory equipment from various manufacturers and helped customers to quickly set up complete analysis platforms and equip new laboratory departments. 

We have also developed a new interface for the export and digital transfer of SARS-CoV-2 results to the DEMIS reporting and information system for infection control at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). 

Supporting the Covid-19 testing campaign “Alles gurgelt” in Austria

In Austria, we and our partner Assista supported Lifebrain Covid Labor GmbH in setting up one of the largest and most modern test laboratories for Covid-19. In just a few weeks state of the art laboratories were set up on a 10,000m2 area at the Otto Wagner location in Vienna.

Here, 600 employees carry out highly complex logistics at a vast capacity. With the help of our software GLIMS and CyberLab, up to 400,000 samples a day are analyzed for public institutions and individuals.

The project is an important part of the “Alles gurgelt” campaign of the City of Vienna, providing free Covid-19 PCR tests for everyone.

By sharing knowledge and experience across borders, the CliniSys Group has succeeded in supporting several national projects, despite the unprecedented time pressure and the exceptional circumstances which we, and our customers, face. 

Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter for the latest news on how we’re supporting the battle against COVID-19.