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Australian software gets UK newborns off to best possible start

Laboratory management software from Integrated Software Solutions is helping the newborn bloodspot screening laboratory at Birmingham Children’s Hospital ensure that no baby in the region misses vital testing and treatment for five life-threatening diseases of infancy.
  • 28 August, 2009 10:10

<p>Integrated Software Solutions Pty Ltd, the specialist laboratory management software developer, today announces the completion of a project to implement a key subset of its OMNI-Lab laboratory management suite at Birmingham Children’s Hospital (BCH). OMNI-Lab is being used to manage the screening of bloodspots, taken by heelprick from 70,000 newborn infants collected each year in the West Midlands region, either to exclude five serious diseases of infancy, or alert paediatricians to the need for further testing and/or possible treatment. The work of BCH is part of the UK Newborn Screening Programme and is carried out in conjunction with 12 other centres of excellence nationwide, including Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, where OMNI-Lab is already in use.</p>
<p>The UK National Screening Committee recommends that all babies in the UK are offered screening for phenylketonuria (PKU), congenital hypothyroidism (CHT), sickle cell disorders (SCD), cystic fibrosis (CF) and medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCADD). Identified early enough and with the right medication and follow-up during the early years, the impact of these conditions on the affected children can be greatly reduced or even eliminated. It is therefore vital that tests done on bloodspots indicating the possible presence of any of the conditions during the screening process are acted upon immediately and accurately, which is where OMNI-Lab comes in.</p>
<p>OMNI-Lab NewBorn Screening manages the entire lab process, including:</p>
<p>* Receipt of blood spot cards from hospitals and midwives</p>
<p>* Registration of babies and tests, with full details of collection</p>
<p>* Interface to laboratory analysis hardware and automatic filing of results</p>
<p>* Provision of rules-based validation of results, based on lab-specified criteria</p>
<p>* Automatic generation of letters to midwives/PCTs to request any missing information (e.g. DoB, transfusion status) and for repeat/follow-up blood spot collections based on first blood spot quality and test results</p>
<p>* Elimination of human error arising from manual keying and re-keying of data</p>
<p>* Ad-hoc statistical reporting</p>
<p>* Electronic interfaces to Child Health Authorities (CHAs) for upload of babies’ demographics and download of test results.</p>
<p>BCH needed more than just a laboratory computer system: it had to be something tailored to its requirements for newborn screening. The tendering process identified that few companies could actually meet those needs and still allow BCH to retain the benefits of its existing system - and hopefully improve on them. According to Paul Griffiths, Director of newborn Screening at BCH, there was a strong belief that Integrated Software Solutions were people he and his colleagues could work with and crucially had the flexibility to adapt OMNI-Lab to BCH’s requirements.</p>
<p>Of particular importance was the ability to develop the electronic links to the various child health systems. These allow much of the process to be automated, which saves time and avoids potential errors from unnecessary reading and retyping of handwritten notes. Paul comments: “Even though we had anticipated the changes being brought about by the National Programme for IT and the individual choices being made by Primary Care Trusts in the region, we wanted a company on board that would be able to work with us and be flexible enough to achieve our goals. With ISS I believe we’ve chosen the right company, because we can discuss things with them and can get changes made and upgrades incorporated at a reasonable cost.” He adds: “I’ve found ISS’s response to be very good. They’re always willing to try things for us and were particularly helpful when we needed to convert 25 years of historic data and bring it into a new national system of coding for reporting results, a massive undertaking they achieved for us with complete success.”</p>
<p>Alex Anderson, Managing Director of Integrated Software Solutions, observed: “It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work with Birmingham Children’s Hospital on such a critical project and we are delighted to have made the grade with another of the UK’s leading providers of infant screening services. We’re looking forward to building on that relationship with BCH as the National Programme for IT gains momentum.”</p>
<p>Integrated Software Solutions Press Contact
Alex Anderson
Tel: 02 9247 3122
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it</p>
<p>About Integrated Software Solutions
Integrated Software Solutions provides sophisticated Laboratory and Radiology Information Systems that allow healthcare organisations to leverage quality patient care in their diagnostic services. ISS provides flexible, real world solutions which increase productivity and are cost effective. The products are supported 24 x 7 from a dedicated, highly specialised team of people based in Sydney, Australia and Winchester, UK. For more information about ISS visit</p>
<p>About Birmingham Children’s Hospital
Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is the general children's hospital for Birmingham, and a regional, national and international centre for specialised treatments. It also provides one of the largest Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in the UK. There are at any one time over 220 paediatric beds, as well as several thousand outpatients being given appointments in any one month. The Trust is also the region's leading provider of paediatric healthcare education, both for medical and nursing professions, and is a centre for the West Midlands Research Network (WMRCN), leading research into children's medicines. A major new centre for paediatric research, the Wellcome Clinical Research Facility, opened on site in 2008.</p>

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