In January 2017, the private consumer testing service, Werlabs, successfully launched their services in the UK with a pilot at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT). This new service allows UK residents to order a variety of tests and healthcare checks at their own cost but through NHS facilities. The National Pathology Exchange (NPEx) was used to enable connectivity between Werlabs and CMFT.
Werlabs’ focus is to promote health surveillance through blood analysis. By providing users with regular blood test results they can gain better control of their health and well-being. Possible examples of users who may be interested in this service could be those who are currently managing a chronic illness or seeking to reduce the risk of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and heart related diseases.
The partnership between Werlabs and X-Lab began in the summer of 2015, where work was completed to develop a new user interface for the Werlabs service, with two members of X-Lab staff travelling over to Sweden to initiate the project. For more details please see here.
Werlabs and NPEx
As this is a private service, and separate from the NHS, bespoke development was required to enable compatibility with the current NPEx architecture. Results can now be sent and received via NPEx between Werlabs and any NHS laboratories connected to NPEx.
The project was split into two phases where phase 1 had some aspects of the process requiring manual entry and phase 2 was a fully automated process.
How does it work?
A patient orders a test via the Werlabs website. They would then go to a phlebotomist to give blood and the sample is sent to the relevant lab. Once the test has been completed the results are transferred from NPEx to the Werlabs journal and available to the patient instantaneously.
X-Lab are currently doing further development work to transform to a completely automated service ready to be launched at other NPEx pilot sites across the UK.
Will Stoddart, CEO Werlabs: “Working with X-Lab has enabled us to innovate in a difficult market at a speed that would have seemed impossible without the partnership. In fact, we built a probability tree estimating how likely it would be that we would be working with the NHS to provide vital digital information regarding blood tests directly to the end user. We estimated the chance at 30%. Here we are today, live in London and Manchester and rapidly expanding into new locations. This is all down to a strong relationship and collaboration between both our companies.”
Matt Labiak, Senior Laboratory Order Communications Analyst: “Working with Will and Patrick on this was a great experience and a new challenge to both myself and the team, mainly due to the nature of private work being performed by the NHS laboratory. Historically, we have been limited when it comes to exchanging digital information between both public and private sectors but X-Lab made it possible thanks to the utilisation of already existing NPEx interfaces. Care was taken to fulfil both the Information Governance and Specimen Acceptance Policy requirements ensuring that the same levels of safety and quality are maintained at all times. I wish great success to both the Werlabs and X-Lab and hope to be able to use the service for my own family in the near future.”