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United Kingdom-Edinburgh: IT services: consulting, software development, Internet and support
Prior information notice
This notice is for prior information only
Section I: Contracting authority
Section II: Object
National Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) PIN
NHS National Services Scotland is exploring the options for the possible procurement of systems to replace the functionality of Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), nationally on behalf of NHS Scotland Diagnostics Directorates.
The objective of this exercise is to obtain up-to-date information and feedback from the market in order to:
— understand current and, in development, market capabilities and solutions in relation to the functionality required, and
— provide NHS National Services Scotland, on behalf of NHS Scotland with indicative costs associated with the incremental implementation and ongoing support of a suitable solution.
The information to be provided will help us better understand the current and developing market and to consider the way forward.
NHS Scotland is exploring options for replacement information technology solutions to deliver functionality of IT systems generically known as laboratory information management systems (LIMS). This soft market test is being conducted to determine what solutions may be available, determine the scope of any future procurement to enable the delivery of NHS Scotland’s distributed service model (DSM) for clinical laboratories and to ascertain indicative costs.
NHS Scotland’s strategy (http://www.labs.scot.nhs.uk) for the future is that provision of laboratory services will take the form of a distributed service model (DSM). An incremental approach to the transformation is being adopted to enable delivery of the new model that requires alignment of services across the constituent Health Boards. The existing services within the Health Boards currently employ LIMS from many vendors. As a consequence, nationally LIMS exhibit high degrees of variability in terms of configuration with many reaching the end of their lifecycles and lacking functionality required to meet the challenges of new technologies and evolving service delivery models. Changes in volume and types of data managed, changing organisational structures and the proposed transformation are drivers for the introduction of information management solutions with functionality to enable incremental change from the current state and meets the requirements of the future DSM.
Existing IT infrastructures and architectures within the Health Boards are highly complex and have evolved over many years. Historically, each hospital site and discipline may have had its own instance of the LIMS or LIMS module respectively. This was thought appropriate for the working practices of the time and has resulted in a high degree of variation and more complexity from a national perspective; this complexity delivers a significant standardisation challenge if service alignment is to be achieved and the national DSM is to be delivered. The demands on Laboratory Medicine have evolved significantly over time. Technological developments and potential for cross discipline, cross sector and national working in the future mean that what is required of the LIMS changed. Prior to the publication of the national laboratories strategy NHS Scotland Health Boards have responded to their local challenges to accommodate the various drivers for change and evolution of local service models. A good example of this is the project launched to consolidate LIMS instances across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. This ambitious project completed in 2014 and delivered a consolidated LIMS instance for each of the following:
— blood sciences (combined biochemistry, haematology, immunology and neuro-immunology),
— cellular pathology (combined histopathology, cytology and mortuary),
— microbiology (combined clinical and environmental),
— blood transfusion.
The current system connects through a variety of industry standard protocols to many other systems such as:
— patient administration systems,
— electronic patient records,
— analytical middleware,
— electronic order communication systems,
— regional and national systems.
The LIMS functionality is essential for providing laboratory services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and must have an extremely high degree of resilience in order to minimise any periods of scheduled or unscheduled downtime. Vendors of future solutions should note that this resilience should include but not be limited to Failover and Disaster Recovery of the system with limited technical intervention.
Potential suppliers may be invited to attend a Q and A session at an NHS Scotland site in Glasgow with date and time to be confirmed through publication on the Public Contracts Scotland portal.
A questionnaire has been attached to this notice. Please complete and respond as per the instructions in the document. This is a market testing exercise which will allow the Authority to consider future options in this area.
Section IV: Procedure
Section VI: Complementary information
Note: To register your interest in this notice and obtain any additional information please visit the Public Contracts Scotland website at https://www.publiccontractsscotland.gov.uk/Search/Search_Switch.aspx?ID=580384