Vital laboratory link delivered to NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol

CliniSys has delivered a laboratory link for NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol (Nightingale Bristol), so clinicians can request tests for patients and receive the results electronically

The pathology systems specialist responded rapidly to a request from Severn Pathology for a piece of integration work. This work was to link the IT systems used by the labs at North Bristol NHS Trust with the IT systems used by the Nightingale Bristol. The IT systems used by the Nightingale Bristol are run out of University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust.

The integration enables the CliniSys WinPath laboratory information system used by North Bristol to pick up requests for tests placed in the version of CliniSys ICE used by the Nightingale Bristol and return the results through the ICE system.

Pathology services manager David Gibbs explained: “The Nightingale Bristol is designed to provide the highest level of specialist care for critically ill coronavirus patients in the Severn area critical care network.

“Diagnostics is vital to running an ITU, so as preparations were made for the new facility, we knew that it would need to be linked up with the labs at North Bristol, which can run all of the tests required.

“Getting NHS IT systems to talk to each other can be notoriously difficult, but CliniSys developed a plan and executed it very quickly, working over the Easter holidays. We went from the seemingly impossible to having a slick solution in a matter of days.”

People who are critically ill with Covid-19 need oxygen while their lungs recover, and clinicians need to be able to measure the amount of oxygen in their blood to assess their condition. Severn Pathology, a partnership between North Bristol NHS Trust and Public Health England, has installed blood gas analysers and other point of care devices at the Nightingale Bristol to take these measurements. However, clinicians also need to conduct other tests that cannot be carried out on site.

Gibbs explained: “Patients with Covid-19 who are being ventilated are in an induced coma, so they cannot tell a nurse or a doctor that they are thirsty or tired. Clinicians need to check whether their kidneys and their circulatory system are working and find out whether they are anaemic or suffering from a secondary infection.

“It is critical for them to be able to order tests for those and many other conditions and for the results to be integrated into the patient management system they are using. The integration work that CliniSys carried out means that clinicians have all the data they need together, in one place.”

Mr Tim Whittlestone, medical director, NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol, and deputy medical director at North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “The integration work required to ensure separate IT systems are able to talk to each other has been vital to support the wider health picture of people with Covid-19.

“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.

“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.”

NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol has been created within the University of the West of England (Bristol) campus. It is one of seven created across England, and officially opened on 27 April as an important part of the south west’s contingency planning for Covid-19.

It is one part of a network approach to the management of critical care services across Gloucestershire, Bristol, North Somerset, Bath, North East Somerset, Wiltshire, Somerset and South Gloucester.

The new facility will provide up to 300 intensive care beds for coronavirus patients, if local services in the Severn region need them. Severn Pathology has undertaken additional steps to support the NHS response to the coronavirus. It has used NPEx, the national pathology network, to link the labs across the south west of England, so they can spread the load of Covid-19 testing.

It has also redeployed staff who are not carrying out tests to support routine work onto the Covid-19 effort. Severn Pathology will soon have the capacity to run 8,000-10,000 tests per day for NHS staff, frontline workers, and patients.

It has just started testing every hospital patient for Covid-19, even if they are not showing symptoms, and every patient booked in for surgery.

Adam Clark, delivery director at CliniSys said: “When Severn Pathology came to us with this request we were determined to respond. The Nightingale Bristol could not operate without the pathology services that North Bristol provides. So, this piece of integration work was an important part of making this happen.

“Technically, we were able to use the CliniSys Integration Manager to get information from ICE into WinPath and back again, and I’d like to thank all the CliniSys staff who worked through Easter to deliver the integration, support Dave Gibbs and his team, and make sure Bristol’s clinicians are in the best possible position to respond to the Covid-19 crisis.”