Standardising pathology test results

PRSB is working on a new pathology project to improve the way pathology tests are requested and results reported in the UK.

The current system for requesting pathology tests and reporting results varies widely from one laboratory to another. Different laboratories use different test lists and different units to measure and report results. For clinicians this can mean they need to interpret results for the same type of test differently depending on which laboratory has carried out the testing and reported the results. This can lead to misinterpretation and errors.

The aim of this work is to inform how new standards can be used to replace outdated pathology messaging systems in primary care and rolled out later across all areas of health and care.

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. 

For more information on the project, please contact

More details on the individual standards being developed by NHS digital are available at