Under pressure to safeguard its incoming student body from COVID-19, The University of Nottingham needed a controlled integration and implementation of a new medical lab information management system to support testing within 12 weeks…
The LIMS had to mirror and monitor this process and accompanying data without increasing the scientists’ workload
Sharon Williams, Director, Interactive Software
In November 2020 at the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Interactive Software was approached by the University of Nottingham to implement its Achiever Medical LIMS system to support the University’s COVID testing lab in its asymptomatic testing of students and staff. The timescales for the project were tight and coincided with staff and students returning to the University after the Christmas break.
This innovative project covered the entire process from the initial registration of testing kits on the University’s newly developed self-registration portal through to the communication of verified results from the qPCR machine.
Clearly defined processes and tightly controlled integration were instrumental to the project. This included integrating with the qPCR machine to process, calculate, and highlight results as well as monitor positive and negative controls. In addition, with increasing numbers of samples to test, the University created pool samples to increase throughput efficiently. The LIMS had to mirror and monitor this process and accompanying data without increasing the scientists’ workload as well as highlight potential positive candidates in a pool. Compliance and data security were also important considerations with personally identifiable information (PII) protected by automatically encrypting sensitive data ‘at rest’.
Understanding the progress of the virus across the University would be invaluable in helping to safeguard health and education. The LIMS’ dashboards were configured to deliver detailed analysis on trends, productivity, and efficiency. In order to achieve installation within the limited timeframe, the system was installed on the University’s cloud platform. Despite the challenges of all activities being conducted remotely the project was completed within 12 weeks.
The collaborative approach taken by both Interactive Software and the University of Nottingham was instrumental to the project’s success. This included an openness and willingness to share information and work together to overcome technical, resource and timescale challenges to deliver a compliant, process-driven, integrated solution.
“We’re very proud to be involved in such an impactful project with the University of Nottingham and we’re pleased to have been named winner of the Lab Awards 2021 ‘Most Impactful Collaboration with Academia’ in recognition of the commitment and collaboration that went into making this project a success,” says Sharon Williams, Director, Interactive Software.