Case Study

Severn Pathology Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)

The Challenge

A Pathology partnership network consisting North Bristol Trust, University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust, Weston-Super-Mare Hospital Trust, and Public Health England required a single instance of a LIMS to cover all sites and provide for collaborative working and efficiencies of scale as detailed in the Carter Report.

The Approach

Some establishing principles had already been made, and Clinisys had delivered WinPath Enterprise to a common platform, to which everybody had access. However, there was no overall day-to-day management dedicated to final installation of the working system.
THC provided programme leadership to the team of Project Managers which represented each of the four partners. Not all partners were fully engaged so we instigated a long-term process that brought everybody on board. During this we moved the work through definition of success and setting of targets, definition of current practises, application of practises to the new system, testing, signoff and finally, implementation.
The major chunk of work was represented by definition of current processes. We felt this would set a realisitic target in order to translate those requirements into the new LIMS configuration. There were some challenges in preventing the natural, and almost inevitable scope creep into improvements and upgrades. With agreement of the Project Board the scope was maintained at replacing like-for-like to ensure successful delivery within a reasonable timescale.
It was particularly challenging to control one of the partners as communication was lacking. This was achieved with a mixture of escalation, stakeholder management, and driving unpopular initiatives. The overall effect was successful in that it did not prevent, or delay go-live, and remaining issues were controlled by THC and accepted by the wayward partner.

Result

Successful implementation of the LIMS – provided to all Partner’s staff, with full support of all pathology work across the geographical area. Shift to the new system from the previous diverse systems was achieved over a weekend. There were no significant issues, and the supplier’s extended team, on site for a fortnight at every go-live, was stood down after a day.

Conclusion

The normal challenges of a large-scale cultural change were mitigated by the drive at a grass-roots level from general management within the Trusts towards the adoption of the new working environment and redesigned business practices. This engagement removed many of the usual barriers to system changes.
The team THC had on the ground throughout the whole duration of this programme developed strong stakeholder relationships and were a respected voice on the programme boards. The close working relationship with the key suppliers facilitated a proactive and collaborative approach to problem solving and issues which arose during the final phase of the programme.

Client feedback

Following the successful implementation of the unified LIMS across four sites, the client was pleased to be able to retain our services for various future programmes that we are still engaged with today.
The Severn Pathology Operations Director said, “...TransHealthCo were instrumental in delivering our LIMS for the new pathology network on budget and on time”
The Clinisys Managing Director, who was onsite for go-live, congratulated THC on our leadership in their smoothest ever implementation.

The Lessons Learned

A detailed lessons-learned workshop & review was completed as part of benefit realisation and programme close. It was found that;
i) Greater validation of User Requirements and operating procedures will reduce testing periods.
ii) Local resources should be ring-fenced to ensure tasks can be delivered on time.
iii) Early engagement with downstream systems suppliers is essential to minimise delays with integration of messaging in & out of LIMS.