New architecture for NPEx paves the way for a busier, sturdier exchange system.
Changes have been made to the NPEx technology to make the system more stable, reliable and also more scalable to be available to large volumes of traffic from all UK pathology labs.
The development of the system had a three pronged approach: refreshing physical hardware platforms such as hosting and networking, which was done successfully last year; refining the messaging infrastructure, which was completed in early 2015; improving the user interface, a process which is taking place right now.
Though the previous messaging infrastructure was suitable for a small number of laboratories to use, it wasn’t providing the stability the service required as it grew into larger markets and so an in-house team at X-Lab used the open technologies available to design a new system.
X-Lab’s technical director, Tarun Mistry said: “We looked at what we had learnt from the last six years of using the system and moved it forward making it massively more stable and reliable, while coping with significantly larger workloads but in a way that did not affect our current clients. We’ve produced a rock solid lab-to-lab system.”
Despite a few minor teething issues, the transition between old and new has been very successful and situations that may have caused problems with the old system have been noticeably smoother with the new. Customers won’t notice any new features or buttons but it has laid the foundations for attacking new areas, for example, microbiology messaging and integration, quality screening programmes and national services.
Mistry said: “We want to look to the future and we can now work with new ideas and flesh them out, for example, with the NLMC.
“We want to improve the user interface and we’re working on that now. It’s a collaborative process with our customers and we’re working with a subset of users to partake in the new ideas. We want their feedback before we deploy the changes so that we can really hit the nail on the head.”
Chris Dunne, Assistant Director of Informatics at the Health Informatics Service, a highly accredited NHS organisation hosted by Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust which proves the service, said: “The revised infrastructure provides a robust and sustainable platform for the growth of NPEx throughout the UK. It makes it possible for us to expand into new markets such as new diagnostic areas such as radiology, expanding to labs outside the UK and possibly even veterinary markets.”
Dunne approved the financial investment into the new architecture. He said: “It took a significant investment to develop the infrastructure but it provides much more stability that we’ll be able to capitalise on the rewrite in the short to medium term future.”