PRSB is beginning a new project on pathology tgather feedback on the feasibility of implementing a standards-based pathology messaging system that can command the confidence of clinicians and other users of pathology information. 

The standards will be based on the clinical terminology, SNOMED CTto define test requests and results, and machine readable standards for units of measure. These will all be shared between systems digitally using FHIR (fast healthcare interoperability resources) messaging. 

The need for a new approach

The current system for requesting and reporting results varies widely from one laboratory to another as different laboratories use different test lists and different units of measure to report results. For clinicians this can mean interpreting results for the same type of test differently because different laboratories use different testing methods and report measurements differently. The wide variation can lead to misinterpretation and errors

The new pathology project will inform how these standards can be used to replace existing pathology messaging systems for primary care (which use now superseded technology). In the longer-term this work will inform how standards in pathology are implemented across all areas of health and care.  

The work will run in two 3-month phases.  Phase 1 (Jul-Sep) will develop demonstrators for showing the feasibility of using the standards.  Phase 2 (Oct-Dec) will engage with stakeholders across the system with the demonstrators to gather their feedback on the feasibility of using the standards.

More details on the individual standards being developed by NHS digital are available here: link to NHS D site ( )

For more information on the project, please contact