Leeds Teaching Hospitals implements Achiever Medical sample tracking software for Human Tissue Act compliance

Leeds Teaching Hospitals implements Achiever Medical sample tracking software for Human Tissue Act compliance

The brief

Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust (LTHT) includes Leeds University and six NHS hospitals – Chapel Allerton Hospital, Leeds Dental Institute, Leeds General Infirmary, St James’s University Hospital, Seacroft Hospital and Wharfedale Hospital.  In December 2008 the trust went to tender for sample tracking software to manage biological samples across multiple teams, hospitals and sites and to support compliance with the Human Tissue Act.

The main challenge for the Trust was to provide consistent sample tracking facilities and processes across its 27 separate locations. Previously each team had used local solutions including separate databases, spreadsheets and locally-designed procedures. As a result of this, each team had very different data requirements.

As a result of the lack of a centralised system, the Trust found HTA compliance management very difficult.

The solution

Leeds Teaching Hospitals chose Interactive Software Limited’s sample tracking software, Achiever Medical, to help comply with the Human Tissue Act (HTA). It successfully uses Achiever Medical across four of its hospitals in addition to the University.

Interactive Software Limited’s remit was to implement an efficient sample management system that covered compliance with applicable legislation including Human Tissue Act, Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information. Further, it had to do this without introducing an administrative burden on the users.

In order to meet this, Achiever Medical maximised visibility of biological sample holdings and auditing data and enabled the use of 2D barcoding for newly collected samples.

As part of the process, Interactive Software Limited’s team configured changes to meet team-specific needs and to support user buy-in as each team was used to having autonomy in its data handling. Careful application of configuration allowed the standard institute-wide compliance and sample tracking benefits to be rolled out smoothly across some very disparate working environments.

Also Interactive Software Limited provided data migration services for the different teams to import their data into Achiever Medical from a variety of sources. Data was imported into Achiever Medical using standardised import templates and guidance provided on data formatting and processing.

Finally, Interactive Software Limited trained the users as close to go-live as possible to maintain learning and best prepare them.

The outcome

Achiever Medical now manages 99 separate biological sample collections as “projects” across LTHT.  45 of these are static historical records and the remaining 54 are active. The system is also managing a very large number of separate sample storage locations.

Achiever Medical protects the identity of sample donors by only showing patient identifiable data to authorised users. Its secure encryption capabilities encode all sensitive data as it is saved in the database; protecting it from research staff and even database administrators. Donor names are only visible to authorised users. The ethics committee responsible for each project oversees and manages the permissions to view these details.

As a result, the quality of the donor, informed consent, sample storage and sample viability data greatly increased the value of the biological samples to researchers. Once cleansed, the sample storage management capabilities helped to increase levels of utilisation thereby reducing overhead costs per sample.

The system also holds donor clinical profile information associated with the samples. Researchers can now search for samples from specific cohorts of donor and further filter data using the donors’ level of consent. In addition, this level of search capability allows the teams to service very specialist research requests; increasing the value of each team’s sample inventory.

Interactive Software Limited completed the integration to link the established in-house informed consent logging system with Achiever Medical to support the nurses taking informed consent in the hospital clinics. This integration reduced the clinic nurses’ workloads, eliminated duplication of data entry and maximised data quality. All of this was achieved while working within the IT and legislative constraints imposed by the disparate working environments.

Main benefits

Since implementing Achiever Medical’s sample tracking software, Leeds Teaching Hospitals has seen improvements in efficiency and quality.

“[Achiever Medical] has enabled the removing manual audit tasks and the automation of repetitive data entry which has created time for both clinicians and laboratory workers. This allows for more research and less concern about legislative compliance.”

– Chris Chambers, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Further benefits include:

  • Ease of compliance with the Human Tissue Act (HTA)
  • Standardised institute-wide compliance and auditing processes
  • Autonomy to evolve the solution as teams’ needs change
  • Time and cost savings through optimised faster clinic and lab processes
  • Risk reduction via simplified and automating processes
  • Improved data accuracy with automated processes and data capture
  • Improved oversight for HTA Persons Designate (PD) HTA Designated Individual (DI) ethics committees
  • Configurable with no or minimal involvement of IT departments
  • Improved efficiency to analyse data or perform stock-take of inventory


Find out more how our sample tracking software can help you comply with HTA

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