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National Medical Laboratory Information System (MedLIS)
The HSE signed a contract in September 2015 with Cerner, the multinational health care technology company, for the introduction of an integrated nation-wide hospital laboratory information system over the next four years. The strategic goal for the MedLIS Project is to ensure Irish healthcare providers have 24-hour access to complete and up-to-date accurate laboratory data across all sites ie a national electronic laboratory record.
The National MedLIS project will improve the delivery of diagnostic laboratory medicine, healthcare quality, efficiency and outcomes for patients in the Irish healthcare system. The project will replace all of the laboratory systems throughout the country and is being supported by the MedLIS and HSE national technology teams.
The provision of high quality laboratory services is a critical component of patient care, involving diagnostic, monitoring and screening services. Laboratory services are vital for the day-to-day operation of all healthcare services; both acute and community based. The current fragmented configuration will be replaced by a single national coordinated laboratory medicine system. This will contribute substantially to the development of an electronic medical record.
The vast majority of healthcare decisions affecting diagnosis or treatment involve a pathology investigation, with individual treatment decisions and the monitoring of their response to treatment often dependent on a range of pathology based tests and investigations. The purpose of the National MedLIS project is to deliver a standardised laboratory information system that supports the delivery of laboratory medicine and meets the needs of patients and their health care providers i.e. hospital consultants, nursing staff, hospital management, general practitioners etc throughout the Irish healthcare setting.
MedLIS will allow for laboratory information to be shared with the relevant health care providers in line with clinical need and data protection requirements. The system will also have full audit trail capability to support data breach detection.
Currently each hospital laboratory operates its own independent LIS with a standalone database and there is little or no laboratory-to-laboratory connectivity. The deployment model for the new national Medical Laboratory Information System (MedLIS) will be based on a central single instance of the software and database. This model will facilitate the electronic patient-centred storage of complete laboratory diagnostic data and allow clinicians and other health care providers to have user friendly access to the full laboratory information on each patient on a 24/7 basis.
The strategic goal for the MedLIS Project is to ensure Irish healthcare providers have 24-hour access to complete and up-to-date accurate laboratory data across all sites.
To achieve this goal, MedLIS will replace all the existing systems in the 43 HSE and Voluntary Laboratories with the Cerner Millennium system. All laboratory disciplines will be replaced including Biochemistry, Immunology, Endocrinology, Haematology, Microbiology, Virology, Histopathology, Cytopathology, Autopsy services, Blood Transfusion, Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics (tissue typing) and Molecular Diagnostics. It will also provide for the delivery of functional interfaces to multiple external systems , e.g., Order Communications Resulting and Reporting, Patient Administration Systems, Healthlink and other National Clinical Systems, e.g., National Renal System.
Why is it important to have a modern Laboratory Information Management System?
Laboratory Information Management systems play a central role in the operational management of pathology laboratory workflow as well as providing the infrastructure to facilitate the electronic communication of patient laboratory examination requests and results from/to hospital clinicians, wards, etc., and their primary care counterparts, general practitioners, and other relevant healthcare providers in fixed and mobile settings. It is imperative that the laboratory service should be supported by a modern information management system underpinned by technology to meet world-class standards in healthcare. Laboratories cannot effectively function without such systems.
The MedLIS project will deliver significant benefits to the patients, clinicians and local health care providers who use the laboratory services. These benefits will primarily be manifested by the reduction in test duplication, the wider availability of results to healthcare providers; faster electronic accessing of these results, enhanced clinical audit, and a more comprehensive and robustly stored patient laboratory record.
Another HSE project, the Maternal & Newborn – Clinical Management System Project, commenced earlier this year for the design and implementation of an electronic health record (EHR) for women and babies in maternity services. The project is working with 19 maternity units around the country and will be completed over a similar time line; this is also being provided by Cerner.