Implementing in Ireland: NPEx Enters a New Market

On Friday 3rd April 2020, the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin raised a purchase order and became the first Irish hospital to join the NPEx network. After undertaking a comprehensive 18-month long journey to engage laboratories across the Republic of Ireland, the decision to implement by an Irish lab comes at crucial time for efficiency and capacity in laboratory medicine.

NPEx has recently been mandated by NHS England and Improvement and NHSX to be used across 100% of English NHS Trusts for COVID-19 test referrals and reports. There is a clear need for NPEx in the current global pandemic through its provision of fast result turnaround times and capacity uplifts for laboratories by removing unnecessary manual processes for referrals and reports. NPEx also acts as a central hub for COVID-19 for NHS England which offers a degree of interoperability that can enable capacity and efficiency through enhanced intelligence on testing.

Steve Box, Business Development Director at X-Lab said:
‘I am absolutely thrilled that the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital will be the first hospital laboratory in Ireland to implement NPEx. While COVID-19 has been a huge challenge for society, it is serving as a critical enabler for the immediate adoption of new technology. In the immediate term, the NPEx technology will serve as an enabler for removing transcription and allowing faster result turnaround where there are cross border specimen flows from the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital to laboratories across the United Kingdom. If more laboratory services across Ireland adopt NPEx, then we'll no doubt see laboratories intra-Ireland send electronic requests and reports through NPEx too’.

The offerings of NPEx, both in the current climate of COVID-19 and across all pathology disciplines, have been opened up to the Irish pathology market through this new connection. The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital are the first Irish hospital to join the NPEx network and it marks the beginning of a roll-out to more Irish laboratories. Laboratories across the Republic of Ireland have continued to engage with the NPEx team since the outbreak and are looking to follow the Mater in joining the NPEx network.

The Heath Service Executive (HSE), which is the Republic of Ireland’s national health service, are following the Irish government strategy to tackle COVID-19. This strategy consists of three phases: containment, delay, and mitigation. Ireland is currently in the delay phase which aims to slow down the spread of the virus and reduce some of the burden being placed on GPs and hospitals. NPEx offers Ireland a solution to help aid this delay phase by increasing capacity and enabling accurate results. This means patients testing positive for COVID-19 can start isolating sooner and help to prevent the spread of the virus. Utilising NPEx to increase capacity may allow Irish labs to reduce the challenges that UK labs have faced.

Paudy O’Gormon, the MedLIS Implementation Lead at the Mater, said:
‘The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital is a major teaching hospital, based on the north-side of Dublin and is managed by Ireland East Hospital Group. The Mater promotes the use of Lean Six Sigma management and science to improve the quality of the healthcare experience for patients, their families and staff. The Mater provides a very complex and diversified pathology service in our laboratories and we refer almost 20,000 requests per annum to external sites for analysis. We believe that implementing NPEx at our hospital is complementary to Lean practice and our hospital mission to promote excellence, quality and accountability through all our activities.’

NPEx’s engagement with the Republic of Ireland began in September 2018 at the Mater itself. The NPEx team hosted the Republic of Ireland NPEx Roadshow at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, where representatives from across the country were present, and learnt more about how the solution could benefit their pathology networks. The NPEx team have since hosted multiple events and visited sites across the nation to engage with on-the-ground prospective users and the organisations that support them.