iSOFT’s NextGen laboratory product is creating a buzz in pathology circles judging by the numbers at the Laboratory User Group meeting on 2 November.
Over 40 people from 35 NHS trusts attended morning and afternoon sessions at the NEC’s Metropole Hotel for a progress report and demonstration of the new word processing, mortuary and cellular pathology modules. User group chairman, Peter Martin, says the turnout was “good” given the current pressure on NHS pathology departments.
Kicking off the meeting, iSOFT pathology product manager, George Philp, emphasised the importance of customer feedback and urged attendees to get actively involved in the development. “We want to know from you what the interface should look like, for instance.” He said the aim was for intuitive interfaces, like Amazon and eBay, to “avoid any massive training requirement”.
He also stressed that the new product supports the increasing need for a total audit of all changes, such as “evidencing changes in rules”, and complete integration of digital imaging.
Philp said NextGen could be installed incrementally as modules become available or users could elect for a “big bang” implementation once all of the new functionality is available in December 2013. “The technology allows you to go-live with the new modules while running existing systems normally, so there will be no down time,” he added. “And the product underpins moves to m-health so will be easy to deploy to mobile devices.”
Cameron Molyneux, an iSOFT senior technical architect, said a key goal was to “architect out differences in legacy systems to provide a uniform product that could run standalone with feeds from the legacy system.”
He also revealed that development of the mortuary module is well advanced. “Developed under advisement from the Waikato District Health Board in New Zealand and senior NHS mortuary staff, the module is in Beta test and ready to go,” he said. “Like all NextGen modules, mortuary is fully configurable to users’ specific needs.”
Templates within the new word processing module can be similarly configured to individual requirements. “The templates can be designed to meet specific needs and easily adapted to meet changing requirements,” said senior technical architect, David Blake. He also said the module is designed to make imbedding pathology images easy.
Peter Martin says the developments are timely and encouraging. “Laboratories are constantly looking to make services more efficient. Even a saving of 30 seconds per sample has massive consequences. For a lab dealing with 3,000 samples a day, a 30 second saving on each equates to a total saving of 25 hours, meaning three staff can be reassigned to other work.”
Martin also commended iSOFT’s renewed focus on its pathology customers. “It is encouraging to see iSOFT has evolved into a customer-oriented organisation that listens to its customers and their business needs. Giving us the tools to do our job efficiently not only helps patient care, but helps us all stay in business.
“I have witnessed significant changes in iSOFT’s approach in recent years, which indicates a desire to become more business oriented, so I personally look forward to cementing our relationship to take pathology computing to the next level,” he said.