June was an exciting time for the HUSLAB pathology laboratories, when the brand-new My+® pathology information system was implemented at Meilahti, Jorvi and Hyvinkää Hospitals.

When starting to use the new system, they also had to give up the old system that they had grown accustomed to over the past 20 years.

Implementation was carried out over consecutive weeks at the three hospitals. The laboratories wanted to avoid using two systems at the same time, which had its challenges as all 200 employees had to learn the new process at once and within a short time frame.

Implementation also requires laboratory resources. Through-put times will not be quite up to the old levels immediately because it will take some time to learn to use the new system, explains information system developer Miia Saranen, who is running the project for HUSLAB.

Almost 150,000 samples a year

HUSLAB’s pathology laboratories provide services to all of Finland, as carrying out some cancer tests has been centralised to HUS. HUS’s systems have over 90 integrations with external systems.

In 2018, HUSLAB processed a total of almost 123,000 histological and 24,000 cytological samples. It is therefore important for the laboratory information system to support a frictionless work process and it is also important that it does not cause needless bottlenecks.

Thanks to the new system, we can eliminate some extra steps when making entries. The secretary no longer has to enter information from paper records to the information system afterwards, instead, the doctor can enter the information directly, Saranen explains.

Aiming for a paperless laboratory

According to Saranen, making reports is easier with the new system than the old one. My+® pathology creates reports automatically for both the laboratory management and the workstations. This helps to anticipate the next day’s workload, for instance.

The analyser connections are bidirectional, which means that the system both sends and receives information through them. Through device connections, a request for sample staining can be sent to an analyser in a different location, for instance from Jorvi to Meilahti.

In the future, My+® pathology will enable users to track a sample in real time through the whole process and make a paperless laboratory a reality.

The goal is for the paper print-out no longer to travel with the sample. Instead, the information in the system could be accessed directly from every workstation. We are still in the process of developing this, however, Saranen says.

Prioritising needs for changes

Miia Saranen emphasises that development of My+® pathology did not end with its implementation. As the operational environment changes, the information system needs constant development.

It is important that we understand that we live in a changing world. The project does not end as soon as the system is implemented. The client relationship continues, she adds.

Users have sent us many requests for changes, which we will strive to fulfil in future versions of My+® pathology. However, we cannot do everything at once, so the requirements will have to be prioritised.

One of the new challenges is digital pathology, which will bring new kinds of device-specific requirements.

Where, in the past, information systems were required to communicate seamlessly with different laboratories and clients, the challenge now is to integrate different devices from different manufacturers with the laboratory’s information system, Saranen sums up.

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