The decision to transfer the clinical laboratory and medical imaging services of the South Karelia Social and Health Care District to HUS in early 2020 as a business transfer started an extensive project to merge the laboratory information systems. Several My+® specialty area were put into use simultaneously and all parties confirmed that the deployment was smooth.

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30th January 2021 was an exciting date for the South Karelia Social and Health Care District (Eksote) as the My+® laboratory information system was installed in all laboratories in the region. The systems were merged during a one-day service break, after which My+® was brought into production use following the work schedules of the different laboratories.

Having unified systems throughout the entire HUS Diagnostic Center operations area naturally yields synergy benefits. This is evident in system maintenance and development projects and can be applied to human resources as well, says Jarkko Penttilä, Information Systems Manager for the E-Services team at HUS Diagnostic Center.

Penttilä, who was responsible for the overall merger, says that the project and system deployment both went extremely well. Any unclear situations and challenging schedules were immediately dealt with through intense monitoring and coordination.

Usually, it would be advisable to deploy a system in phases starting with units that have lower volumes. In this case, schedules and challenges with traditional solutions demanded that the system needed to be deployed at the same time in all units. This was also an incentive for Mylab’s R&D to see the necessary functionality implemented and tested by the deployment date.

According to Penttilä, the toughest challenge was to synchronise the tasks of large teams of experts from the different organisations and to ensure that they all received the same information.

The successful deployment of the project just shows what can be done and credit for it goes to all of the experts who participated in the project, he concludes.

New procedures introduced gradually

Kirsi-Marika Tiainen, Information Systems Designer from HUS Diagnostic Center IT Management, trained the My+® Administrators from the South Karelia region and was Project Manager for the My+® Mobile Sampling and My+® Sampling specialty area. Tiainen says that the massive deployment at Eksote was both exciting and smooth despite its extensive scope. Every laboratory had access to dedicated support resources for the first few days, which alleviated any possible concerns of employees regarding system deployment.

Eksote will also gradually adopt new procedures from the HUS Diagnostic Center Preanalytics Manual, Tiainen says. No procedures will be changed overnight: instead, employees at the HUS Diagnostic Center in South Karelia can acquaint themselves with the manual and adopt the new procedures gradually.

In the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS), the new My+® Mobile Sampling system that combines routine sampling during ward rounds and urgent sampling is currently being piloted at the Meilahti specialist care units. This year, Mobile Sampling will be deployed in several laboratories in the capital region. South Karelia was a natural choice for piloting the new mobile sampling app, since the Eksote hospital district has previously used mobile devices on ward rounds before the introduction of My+®.

We were excited to see whether Mylab could develop the mobile sampling specialty area to meet the specific needs of Eksote, and were happy to find that the solution met our requirements, Tiainen says.

During the project, we noticed that the employees of the HUS Diagnostic Center in South Karelia are skilled and motivated, and therefore it would be natural to pilot any new functionalities there in the future as well, Penttilä adds.

My+® steers the Pathology process

The Pathology specialist area in South Karelia used software developed at the beginning of the century which had not been recently updated, and the merger with the HUS Diagnostic Center brought along a new system.

I had anticipated a change, and having already encountered My+® at training events, I was positively inclined towards the change, says laboratory technologist Jyrki Villa from Lappeenranta.

Villa participated in the My+® deployment project as a Systems Administrator. He contributed using local viewpoints and information on what data would be required from the old system in order to move smoothly over to the new system.

Users have adopted the new system effectively. There has been little feedback and no severe resistance to the change, and everyone has adapted to the system.

From the system user’s point of view, the most important change in the Pathology specialist area is that My+® steers the process and that the different phases can be documented in more detail. This guides the user and can reduce the margin for error.

As My+® is browser-based, zooming into the viewpoint is easier. Certain information is displayed in one viewpoint, whereas in the previous system they needed to be looked up on separate tabs, Villa says.

Laboratory technologist Kirsi Hasu

Autoverification makes tasks easier

Honkaharju Hospital in Imatra is the primary workplace of Laboratory Technologist Kirsi Hasu. She is the Digi-Ecg and My+® sampling Administrator in the Eksote area, and in the Honkaharju laboratory she takes care of the analytics specialty area. During deployment, she was responsible for creating training materials, and she trained users along with three of her colleagues.

Deployment went well, despite the trainers also being occupied with their usual tasks and finding it challenging to allocate time to the My+® project. Studying the system and preparing training for it was time-consuming, and substitute arrangements would have helped to carry out normal tasks, she comments.

Hasu says that the system is user-friendly and easy to use, because data on different specialties are all found in the same system. Annoyingly, certain tasks still need to be carried out in the old system, but according to the plans in place, the remaining functions will also be moved to My+®.

Autoverification is the feature that makes our work at Imatra a lot easier. Previously, all results needed to be approved manually, whereas now we can process far more patient samples even more efficiently than before.

Before the deployment date, Hasu and Esko Wiklund, Mylab’s Project Manager, toured the laboratories connecting the devices and making deployment checks. Wiklund was responsible for the My+® Chemistry analytics and device connections.

Employees at the HUS Diagnostic Center in South Karelia were keen for the project at every phase. Even when faced with challenges, they always offered help and considered how they could contribute to make things work, Wiklund says happily.

Schedules were met in spite of Covid-19

Mylab had dozens of people working on the project. New milestones were met: My+® Microbiology cultivation was taken into production use for the first time, and the brand new My+® Mobile Sampling had its world premiere in Eksote.

Katja Tuimala, a Software Specialist, has participated in development of the Microbiology specialty area. In the Eksote project, she participated in updating registrars, for example.

It is fantastic that we have gained experience of the cultivation functionality, and will be able to develop it further before the system is deployed in all units of the HUS Diagnostic Center.

According to Tuimala, My+® Microbiology was designed in a totally different way than earlier systems. Previously, all tests were viewed and verified manually, whereas the new system makes even the most complicated check-ups, releasing them automatically.

Test results are delivered rapidly to treatment units, and customers can allocate personnel resources to tasks that require more expertise.

Mari Kattainen, Mylab’s overall Project Manager, says that January was hectic for everyone who participated in the merger project. In the multi-stakeholder environment, everyone worked towards a common goal, even though participants had other ongoing tasks as well.

The project was completed on time, although health-care employees needed to take on urgent Covid-19-related tasks, since Mylab could take more responsibility for certain areas. Currently, we are tying up any loose ends according to procedure. No major discrepancies have been found, so the project has been deemed a success, Kattainen says.

After a successful deployment, the HUS Diagnostic Center IT Services will continue to be busy throughout the spring, as they have other major IT projects underway.

We are moving straight onto the next major deployment project, Penttilä concludes.

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