Wayne Tainton is a solutions manager at CliniSys; but until the summer of 2022 he was a pathology IT manager in Bristol. His move underlines CliniSys’ commitment to working with its customers and to using their experience to make sure that its systems address the challenges they are facing.
How did you get started in pathology IT?
I started working in pathology in Bristol twenty-one and a half years ago, as a temp in reception. So right at the bottom! I sat in a back room doing data entry, day in, day out. Then I did an IT course through the Open University, and my laboratory manager said: “We have some interesting work coming up, if you’d like to get involved…”
When did you start working with CliniSys?
The laboratory was preparing to replace the old, home-grown LIMS. The laboratory needed to find a system that could be supported, that was more modern, and that could work with other labs across the city and, eventually, the country.
The system we chose at the time was Triple G Ultra, which I looked after for a decade. We then moved to the WinPath Enterprise LIMS in 2016, which was my first involvement with CliniSys. I also looked after ICE (the Integrated Clinical Environment order communications and results reporting solution).
What was your experience, as a customer, of working on a WinPath Enterprise implementation?
Bristol was very forward-thinking. It embraced the pathology network idea and understood how a LIMS could be used to support communication and standardisation between sites. I think the implementation took a little bit longer than expected, because CliniSys didn’t have the WinPath Enterprise master-build that it does now, and the system was built by trust staff.
Having said that, CliniSys really understood how all the different systems in a big go-live are connected. They knew all the other suppliers, like the analyser companies, and if there was a problem with an interface or some of the workflow, they could take on that lead contractor role and sort it out.
We also had some great discussions about the LIMS and how to get the most out of it. The day-to-day changes that affected workflow across the sites were very well handled. We had a good change control process, that enabled us to check everything before it went live. And the training we got from CliniSys was excellent.
Why join CliniSys?
I’d been working in Bristol for a long time, and as the pathology network matured, I could see the laboratory where I was based becoming more of a spoke in a hub and spoke model. There were a lot of changes going on, so when an opportunity came up at CliniSys, I spoke to my manager and decided to go for it.
Also, for 16-years I’d done 24/7/365, on-call support on my own. I think I provided a decent service, looking after WinPath Enterprise, ICE and other systems. The scale of the job was huge, and it was a big responsibility.
How is the move working out so far?
I am using the same skills that I used as a pathology IT manager, but I’m also learning new skills. There are parts of the WinPath Enterprise system that I’ve been asked to work on that, as a pathology IT manager, I just wasn’t able to touch, because CliniSys was responsible for them.
So, I’ve been learning a lot about this product that I’ve used for eight-years! I’m also getting to use some of the technical skills that I learned on my degree, which is nice at this point in my life.
What aspects of your customer experience are you bringing to CliniSys?
One of the things that impressed me when I was a customer was how close CliniSys was to the laboratories that it worked with. If you are a pathology IT manager, you soon learn that the only relationship you will have with some of your suppliers is with a faceless support desk.
Whereas, with CliniSys, you get a relationship with real people, who stay with the company for a long time. Most of the people on the solutions management team have been here for 20 years or more. So, that’s one of the things that I want to bring to my new role; that commitment to listening to customers, to addressing their issues, and to having the experience to do it.
Have you been able to work with your old team, yet?
I have! One of my first jobs at CliniSys was to help with a data centre migration. We moved Bristol out of its old data centre and into the Telefonica Tech data centre. It was what I was just talking about in action: I could turn around and say ‘oh, I know this site really well, I can help.’ And it was nice to feel that I was still part of the team.
How would you like to see CliniSys systems develop in the future?
My degree focused on programming, and I’d really like to use more of it. Programming feels quite creative – almost like painting a picture. You put in the ones and zeros, and you get something new. There are solutions managers who write scripts to solve problems for customers, so I’d like to move in that direction.
I’d also like to address some specific challenges, such as printing, and to see WinPath Enterprise more closely integrated with ICE. I think the roadmap is looking to bring them together, and after working with both systems for so long, I think that makes sense. You can see how the two could work together as one CliniSys service for customers to deliver real benefits to the pathology service and patients alike.