‘Virtual’ Classrooms Enhance Hematology Staff Training at Spire Healthcare
04 Sep 2012

The implementation of HORIBA Medical UK’s online training programme for its haematology analysers has proven to be a great success at Spire Pathology Services. HORIBA Medical’s ABX Pentra 80 haematology analysers have played a major role in helping Spire Pathology Services to process the more than 1.8 million samples that are tested yearly in its 18 laboratories for hospitals within the Spire Healthcare Group (the second largest group of private hospitals across the UK), as well as external customers, including the independent and NHS sectors.

HORIBA Medical’s ABX Pentra 80 haematology analysers fulfil all the requirements of Spire’s busy pathology labs, however one of the biggest challenges lies in ensuring all appropriate personnel are fully trained and certified to use the analysers. Consequently, Spire adopted the HORIBA e-Learning Portal (HeLP) as a complement to its on-site and classroom-based learning. As a computer-based, online programme, this not only improves the accessibility of training for staff working shifts and on-call, but also facilitates a multi-disciplinary approach to blood analysis. As Spire’s staff hold a diverse range of medical and laboratory expertise, the user-friendly, modular courses ensure that differing learning needs can be met.

The HeLP e-learning programme, written and designed in-house by HORIBA Medical team experts, was adapted for Spire’s individual needs by working with Linda Joyce, Manager at Spire Pathology Services’ Portsmouth Laboratory. “The ABX Pentra 80 haematology analysers tick all the boxes in terms of the blood analysis requirements of our pathology laboratories, but it is always a challenge to make sure that all our staff, from a range of specialities, are well-trained to use the analysers. The HeLP online training programme provides the ideal solution,” said Linda Joyce. As an administrator of online learning at Spire Pathology Services, Linda Joyce is notified by email when personnel in the countrywide pathology laboratories have successfully completed the course, making it easy for her to keep up-to-date with who has received the training.

According to Linda Joyce, one of the key benefits of the e-learning programme was the flexibility to adapt it to the requirements of the pathology laboratories. “HORIBA Medical were very good at working with us to adapt the online tool to our needs. I worked personally with them to set up the package, where certain aspects were changed to tailor the learning programme to the requirements of our personnel. For example, one of the areas we needed more tuition on was for a statistical measurement of population means: the package was modified to include this.”

HeLP fully supports a multi-disciplinary use of the HORIBA haematology analysers. For example, the online tool ensures that non-biomedical scientists (BMS) can be trained to the appropriate level necessary to use the blood analyser. “HORIBA Medical have even designed a haematology course for beginners to bring medical laboratory assistants and biochemists unfamiliar with blood work, up to speed,” added Linda Joyce. “We also have a two-tiered learning programme for the analysers; Level 1 is for basic users such as non BMS staff and Level 2 is more advanced, for BMS staff. This means learning is adapted specifically to the users’ needs.”

Spire Pathology Services’ professional service dictates that all personnel must hold certificates of competency in order to use the haematology analysers. Upon the successful completion of the e-learning courses, certificates are produced which carry a Continued Professional Development (CPD) code accredited from the Institute of Biomedical Sciences. “Ensuring that our entire team are working at a high level of competency is vital to us at Spire and thanks to HORIBA’s online training programme this is now possible. The design of an e-learning course tailored specifically to our needs is a reflection of our continued excellent working relationship with HORIBA,” commented Linda Joyce.

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Sonia Nicholas
Clinical Diagnostics Editor