Integrated Pathology Partnerships (iPP) is improving efficiency and ensuring better patient care by using Checkit Automated Monitoring within its Somerset laboratories. iPP manages Southwest Pathology Services (SPS), a joint venture between iPP and the Foundation Trusts of Taunton & Somerset and Yeovil District Hospital, and has deployed over 100 Checkit sensors across its Taunton Hub and Essential Service Laboratories (ESLs) at Musgrove Park Hospital (Taunton) and Yeovil Hospital.
Checkit sensors automate the continuous recording of temperature readings within iPP’s labs, particularly of blood, clinical trial and patient samples, ensuring that they remain within set parameters. This safeguards over 10,000 units of blood every year, as well as protecting the results of the 25,000 daily tests conducted at SPS, benefiting 500,000 patients and 100 GP practices in southwest England. Previously monitoring was carried out manually by staff, on a daily basis, with local temperature alarms for blood bank fridges.
Temperature data is now captured continuously and sent to the Checkit Hub every five minutes. It is visible 24/7, from anywhere, via the cloud-based Checkit Control Centre. Should temperatures move outside predetermined parameters, alerts are automatically sent to staff, wherever they are, by email, text, or ‘pop-ups’ on local PCs. Action can be taken proactively whether staff are on- or off-site. This is particularly vital at the SPS Hub laboratory, where Checkit Automated Monitoring is now being introduced, as the lab is not staffed around the clock.
“We were searching for a compliant, digital, wireless monitoring solution, viewable across a multi-site model, to help us minimise the threat of losing temperature-critical samples,” said Matthew Barnett, Essential Laboratory Manager, Integrated Pathology Partnerships. “Using Checkit Automated Monitoring we save staff time daily whilst getting real-time, high quality data – a compliant solution that meets with laboratory standards and also aids staff and process efficiency. It provides us with comprehensive data for compliance purposes and allows us to respond in real-time if and when situations arise.”
Checkit benefits iPP in three ways. It is able to free staff from manual checks, saving hours every week, and allowing them to spend time on more critical pathology actions, improving efficiency. By providing comprehensive temperature data iPP is able to report upon the electronic traceability of the cold chain for samples, reagents and blood component stocks held in the ESLs, essential for compliance with regulations set by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It has also supported iPP’s application to the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) for Medical Laboratory accreditation (ISO 15189), a new standard to which all medical laboratories must now adhere. It allows a real-time response to any incidents, as managers receive warnings when temperatures move outside set ranges, allowing corrective action to be taken.
“The temperature of vital samples and blood stocks within pathology labs is critical to ensuring they are usable, as any issues potentially impact patient health,” said Martin Nash, Product Line Manager, Checkit. “As iPP’s success shows, automating monitoring not only safeguards samples, but also frees up staff time to focus on more complex tasks, increasing efficiency. It demonstrates the long-term benefits of moving to digital technology across the health sector, removing paper-based processes while improving patient care, in order to move towards the efficient ‘model hospital’ developed by Lord Carter in his recent NHS review.”
Lord Carter, who opened iPP’s Taunton Hub in 2013, set out plans to save £5 billion per year across NHS acute hospitals in his February 2016 report. At the same time the Department of Health announced a £4 billion investment in technology to create a paperless NHS that would be more convenient for patients, help doctors to provide faster diagnoses, and drive down costs.
Integrated Pathology Partnerships (iPP) was established in 2010 to work in partnership with the NHS to deliver transformed pathology testing services in the UK. iPP now conducts more than 25 million tests per annum and employs over 650 staff across nine sites in the UK.
iPP was specifically established to enable UK healthcare organisations to strengthen the quality, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their pathology services.
The combined operational expertise and scientific leadership of iPP equip it to be a strategic partner to both the NHS and independent healthcare providers.iPP can assist a wide variety of healthcare providers and commissioners in meeting the challenges of quality, cost and rising demand in UK pathology services.
iPP is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Synlab, the European leader in delivery of high quality pathology testing and imaging services. Synlab operates in 35 countries across four continents, employing more than 13,000 members of staff and conducting over 400 million tests per annum. More information can be found on www.synlab.com.