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Re-engineering pathology: an IT solution to the data conundrum.
  1. M D Simmons,
  2. J Nadin,
  3. M Isaac
  1. Public Health Laboratory, Carmarthen, UK.

    Abstract

    AIMS: To develop a simple process for data transfer between disparate laboratory computer systems, and to assist in the rationalisation of services while maintaining or improving clinical care. METHODS: Using existing hardware and software in the laboratories, data manipulation was reduced in the sending and receiving laboratories by using scripting languages to perform the import and export routines from disparate laboratory systems. RESULTS: Data exchange between Carmarthen and Swansea laboratories (12,000 specimens per year) was achieved in a semiautomatic manner for most specimens. Turnaround times were equalled or improved with the new arrangements, and significant reductions were obtained in staff costs. CONCLUSIONS: Data exchange between disparate laboratory computer systems can be achieved inhouse using simple systems. The process offers a route to assist in the management of reducing resources. The process could be readily utilised in other pathology disciplines or with any data integration exercise. There is scope for further enhancement that is currently being investigated.

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