The iPP Model
The 2006 and 2010 reviews of NHS Pathology Services by Lord Carter recommended that a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model be adopted in the provision of NHS pathology services to improve efficiency. Rather than the traditional model of pathology departments based in every hospital, a Hub and Spoke system consists of a central ‘hub’ where routine testing is carried out on a series of supporting smaller ‘spoke’ or ‘hot labs’ on hospital sites to carry out urgent testing work. iPP has proven that separation of urgent and routine testing in different laboratories leads to more efficient workflows and more responsive results for clinicians and patients. You can read more about how this model is transforming pathology services at SPS and Pathology First.
At the heart of iPP’s model is a commitment to patients and clinicians to deliver high quality pathology testing in all of our laboratories. iPP’s continuous improvement process means that we are constantly looking at ways to innovate to improve the quality, speed and efficiency of our testing process. Transformation is always challenging and to ensure that the transition to a new operating model runs smoothly, iPP relies on its joint venture partnerships with key clinical and executive stakeholders in the NHS to co-develop and manage the change process. Through its joint venture partnerships with the NHS, iPP ensures that clinicians and laboratory staff are fully engaged in designing and delivering new operating models.
iPP benefits from more than 5 years of operating in the UK and experience of having transformed services at five NHS Foundation Trusts, as well as being a major provider of diagnostic services to many hospitals across Europe. Today iPP delivers over 25 million tests per annum in the UK making it one of the largest providers of high quality testing in the country. iPP has committed significant investment already to ensure that its laboratories offer a full range of tests using state-of-the-art equipment to ensure we deliver a responsive service – one that enables pathologists to access test results digitally where possible to reduce the time taken to interpret tests and provide a diagnosis for patients.
iPP is also committed to investing in training across all of its laboratories and to support its scientists to develop their career with all the benefits of having access to some of the highest performing laboratories in the country.
iPP is committed to investment to deliver the highest quality laboratories in the UK. All of iPP’s laboratories are registered with Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Care Quality Commission and UKAS (UK Accreditation Service).
As all laboratories migrate from Clinical Pathology Accreditation to UKAS under ISO 15189, iPP is already advanced in this process having already gained accreditation in some disciplines in Essex. iPP is also committed to introducing novel technologies and innovative molecular and genetic tests to enable improved diagnosis for patients. Examples of this are the introduction of digital pathology solutions and near-patient testing processes that adhere to national quality guidelines, as well as the launch of a novel non-invasive pre-natal test developed by Synlab. You can read more about the quality standards on each of our site pages.
iPP has unrivalled expertise in delivering pathology transformation. Pathology is complex and there is often a lack of experience to deliver large scale pathology transformation in short timeframes. Often those required to deliver the change have day jobs running busy laboratory services. iPP takes on the risk and task to deliver the transformation ensuring that it remains clinically-led and responsive to all stakeholders.
Given current budgetary constraints, investment in new equipment and processes is generally not a key priority for trusts. Considerable investment – often in the range of £5–10m – is required to enable multiple trusts to centralise routine testing off-site and for full service transformation of urgent testing on-site. This can, of course, vary depending on the scale of the operation, but for many this is simply unaffordable today. iPP delivers this investment upfront and takes on the risk of delivering the transformation for its partners.
iPP and its parent company, Synlab, were founded and are led by pathologists and scientists. Ensuring that its services remain clinically led and integrated into existing clinical pathways is of paramount importance to the success of iPP’s model in the UK.
iPP realises that speed is not always optimal when it comes to pathology testing, but in many cases, faster delivery of results to a clinician results in better patient outcomes and often to reduced costs for the hospital provider. What is important is to ensure that the right test is prescribed and that the result is delivered at the right time. For example, iPP has demonstrated that turnaround times within A&E have reduced by 22 per cent for urgent and 29 per cent for non-urgent creatinine tests, and neonatal patients are being discharged earlier due to enhanced blood culture processes.