NPEx User Group 2019


On 18th September 2019, the annual NPEx User Group was held in London at the Royal College of Pathologists. Over 100 delegates from across the UK NHS, private laboratories, Europe and even Australia gathered to meet the NPEx team; learn more about other users’ encounters with NPEx; and consider new proposals and developments for the future of NPEx. Not only was the event held at a national hub of pathology but the calibre of speakers in attendance reflected the important position NPEx holds in the future of digital healthcare.

The morning session included presentations from experts with a wealth of backgrounds, who opened up discussions on the issues facing the healthcare industry. This year’s keynote speaker, Jo Martin, the President of the Royal College of Pathologists, spoke about the importance of investment in pathology to alleviate some of the pressures for now and for the future. Jo talked about how the pathology industry needs to evolve and adapt to the world around it and adopting NPEx is one of the ways in which it can do this. Her talk was supported by, Tom Lewis, the Clinical Lead for Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT). GIRFT is a national programme devised to enhance patient care and increase efficiency. Tom discussed the importance of interoperability and highlighted how NPEx is a tool for achieving this.

Closing the session, Laszlo Igali, Co-Chair of the Pathology Informatics National User Group, took a more technical approach to NPEx and spoke about pathology standardisation and its challenges. He told the audience that, ‘if you want to find out somebody’s pulse, you need to put your finger on the radial artery. If we want to find and feel the pulse of pathology data, we need to put our finger on NPEx’. He explained how NPEx is an essential tool for pathology, but also a necessity for diagnosing the challenges faced by the pathology industry.

NPEx UG 2019 Panel

The rest of the day was split into three different streams. The first stream was the Open Networking stream hosted by Rose Crees and Scott Vardy from X-Lab. This was a chance for visitors to network with other users or talk to the NPEx team to discuss possible solutions for laboratory workflow challenges. Visitors were also encouraged to share best practice and explore development ideas to contribute to the future of NPEx.

The second stream was the Strategic Stream, aimed at guests who wanted to learn more about how NPEx is developing to meet the needs of the pathology industry. One of the biggest challenges facing the future of laboratory medicine is interoperability. Speakers in this stream looked at how NPEx’s EQA and Point of Care Testing (POCT) programmes are tackling interoperability. Many of the presentations focussed on the NPEx ICS programme and how it is achieving an integrated digital future for its users by developing its service and increasing functionality for its users. The programme is divided into four streams of work: transferring complex data sets, improved business continuity, greater connectivity options beyond the NHS network, and the integration of POCT devices on NPEx EQA schemes.

The third stream of the User Group was the Technical/Operation Stream. This was designed for users who wanted to learn, through a series of workshops and demonstrations, about how the service is developing to meet their needs. NPEx is continuously looking for new ways to improve its technology and the drive to support Microbiology, Histopathology, and Genomics is the next big step for NPEx. This stream allowed users and team members to explore how NPEx can develop these improvements as well as providing an overview of NPEx technical updates to service and features.

Debbie Hunter, Head of Service at The Health Informatics Service (THIS) spoke about the success of the day. She has been attending the event for the past four years and expressed how each year the User Group continuously ‘becomes bigger and better’. This year’s User Group was a useful learning experience and an opportunity to share different experiences of using NPEx.

Hayley Milsom, X-Lab’s Account Manager, reflected on the success of the day and said: ‘the NPEx user group provides delegates with the opportunity to hear about the great work we have been doing and are planning on doing in the future.’ As NPEx continues to develop and improve its service, it is becoming more of a necessity to healthcare. Lucy Mairs, Delivery Manager at X-Lab spoke about how this year’s User Group ‘shows how useful and important of a tool NPEx has been to pathology so far and will be for years to come. From building the service around the needs of its users through ICS to expanding its service across the world, the benefits of NPEx are growing with our user-base.’

NPEx Team

Thank you to all our speakers and guests for attending this year’s User Group. We hope it was a great learning experience and showcased the role NPEx plays in the development of pathology services.