General practitioners (GP) are the first contact points for a patient for primary health care while the clinical laboratories assist them in detecting diseases effectively. So it is essential that the communication between them should be as efficient as possible with minimum turn-around time in terms of sending orders and receiving test results, to improve care quality. In Ireland, GPs receive test results electronically from hospital laboratories via a messaging service Healthlink, provided by Health Service Executive (HSE). But majority of them still order diagnostic tests for patients using manual paper-based system which is inefficient and time consuming for both of them. To overcome these problems, HSE has planned to introduce a new nationwide laboratory information system, MedLIS by replacing existing laboratory information systems in 43 HSE hospitals throughout Ireland.
The purpose of this research was to explore the existing challenges for GPs and hospital laboratories in Ireland in sending test orders and receiving results and potential impact of MedLIS on these processes. The researcher adopted qualitative approach by interviewing Irish GPs and hospital laboratory professionals to understand their experiences and perceptions about MedLIS and drew conclusions based on the findings.
This research highlights several obstacles in achieving an efficient data exchange between hospital laboratories and their associated GPs. It also indicates that MedLIS is going to play a vital role in taking care of these issues and streamlining communication between GPs and hospital laboratories. Further research in this area can be carried out with larger sample size compared to the sample size used in this research that would be beneficial for healthcare in Ireland. Author keywords: MedLIS, Healthcare, Pathology Laboratories, General Practitioner, LIS, Healthlink, HSE