What is the HSW product?
HSW is a new digital health start-up company that will provide integrated diagnostic testing services to the private medical sector. There is a recognised need for pathologists and diagnosticians to find more efficient ways of supporting doctors. The consultant-led service will provide healthcare teams with targeted, patient-specific diagnostic information and the means of accurate decision-making. HSW is the innovative combination of laboratory and IT solutions to assist clinical teams achieve better patient outcomes.
HSW combine accredited quality routine diagnostic services with the information technology required to integrate with clinical and patient-facing devices and systems. The development of new diagnostic tests (such as genomic, cancer and cardiac markers) continues apace. The question is; how can complex data be presented in meaningful administrative and clinical formats, where and when needed by clinicians and patients.
The answer is provided by combining the latest in consultant-led diagnostic pathology laboratories with clinical systems that are integrated with other core patient information sources. This allows doctors and their teams to receive secure access to medically significant information on their patients via bespoke ‘dashboards’ and on a range of user platforms. This fundamental approach is central to the needs of the new mhealth (mobile health) environment.
Sharing diagnostic and multi-specialist information assists pathologists working in collaboration with clinicians in making informed decisions and opening new insights into diseases. HSW re developing integrated technologies that improve dataflow across traditional boundaries to increase efficiency and joint professional working.
The new system integrates clinical networks with the HSW diagnostic pathology laboratories and other diagnostic testing. The system connects with the care teams allowing quick case review of the essential information available and provides the management and medical dashboards required for the range of clinical practices.
Pathology laboratories face a number of challenges with the need for increased efficiencies and the more accurate diagnostics that are crucial to achieve the results that patients, pathologists and consultants demand. Furthermore, this data has to be provided where and in a format that is of maximum and meaningful value. By bringing IT and in-house medical diagnostics together in one system with information from other care teams, HSW provides the digital clinical and management solution that consultants say they need for effective patient care.
Diagnostic Platforms for mHealth
The major consumer IT companies such as Apple and Google are developing systems that allow users to download their health records combined with self-diagnostic information, such as blood pressure and heart rate. See summary infographic.
The key challenge to get this working effectively is the lack of interoperability for consumers and healthcare professionals to integrate with high-quality information. With the focus on doctors, HSW provides this level of data-share at a professional level, which will in turn creates an operating platform for the major patient-facing systems to access (on a commercial basis).
Introduction to Diagnostics
In simple terms diagnostic pathology laboratories exist to analyse samples and to produce data and observations relating to this analysis. The data facilitates both the diagnosis and management of medical conditions and it is therefore fundamental to the provision of all healthcare.
In the UK the vast majority of pathology testing is inevitably provided within the framework of the National Health Service (NHS). As part of the on-going need for cost reduction the NHS has in recent times entered into partnership with independent pathology service providers, such as The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) and into managed service contracts with diagnostics services companies such as Abbott Diagnostics Division (ADD). The result has been the creation of super-pathology “factories” with highly automated production lines that in turn generate vast quantities of standard pathology data. The new Imperial College / ADD collaboration is responsible for processing 6% of the total UK pathology market.
Nevertheless, there is also an established need within the private healthcare market place in the UK for high quality, top end pathology services. It is estimated that the private pathology market in the UK totals 22 million tests per annum valued at xxxx. The major private sector providers include Sonic Healthcare Limited (who own TDL and HSL Pathology), and Viapath Ltd. A number of newer players, such as IPP (owned by Synlab), have also entered the UK market.
Diagnostics - Promoting Wellness
It’s not about the pathology, it’s about getting the right ‘diagnostic’ insight. For example, a single test result can be meaningless unless placed in context over time and with other medical information.
The term ‘pathology’ is problem centred with an obvious focus on identifying the disease or disease process. Whilst this is essential for medical decision making, the approach potentially loses sight of the objective i.e. what information the clinician needs to best to help the patient. HSW has been formed to be ‘solution’ centred and combines high quality pathology with sophisticated diagnostic system solutions.
Clinicians practicing within the private healthcare sector require pathology and diagnostic services that can provide the most up to date diagnostic and genomic tests. In addition, results and data need to be reported in a format that can be easily integrated into their wider practice management systems (PMS). In direct response to this, HSW is developing bespoke informatics software designed to meet the specific aspects of these varying needs.
The Diagnostic Client Focus
Pathology services have multiple users (clients) from medical generalists and specialists to administrators and patients. These require different levels of secure access to information in different formats, depending on their role as individuals or within practices. The integration between the pathology system and practice management system is therefore key to efficient working and service delivery. This requires sophisticated IT that can meet the needs of the different user experiences (UX). The tendency of existing pathology services is to choose the activity metrics based on the software and what is conveniently measurable - such as request or stock patterns, rather than the critical and commercial needs of users such as patient test and wellness trends, relevance of genomic testing, revenues and identification of improved service opportunities. The obvious problem with this is that whilst this is expedient for the service provider, the lack of required information and formatting is not helpful to healthcare specialists.
User-defined Diagnostic Portals
The HSW service provides integration between the various systems and appropriate levels of portal – or ‘dashboard’ - access to customers as needed. Many of the existing Laboratory Management Information Systems (LIMS) were designed simply to automate the request, test and report in a linear manner tied to fixed locations, processes and workflows. The HSW approach turns this traditional approach on its head and asks; what do the users of the service actually need? HSW has the technical expertise to fulfil.
Utlising the latest digital technologies the HSW diagnostic service will offer real differentiation from other pathology laboratories and provide a key enabler of improvement in the management of healthcare provision.
The HSW System is therefore UX / PMS- defined, meaning that the whole array of different types of users can receive proactive, secure access from the places where they need it. This will enable an enhanced level of patient service, and one that reflects the changing needs in the private sector.
HSW will provide a robust cloud-based clinical digital platform for the secure capture of patient data. This will facilitate full integration of core diagnostic results and other essential parameters into a client-tailored clinical dashboard. This is the form of cutting edge technology that has been missing until now. This comprehensive integration with practice management requirements will improve patient treatment outcomes and enable better planning and analytic insights.
This ultimately translates to an improved, better quality patient experience. In addition, diagnostic services that can provide this greater flexibility and choice, and facilitate specialist focus on additional patient care will carry a premium in the private healthcare market place.