In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world and testing increased as a key method of protecting communities, the NHS required an integrated service solution to monitor the health of frontline staff in an unprecedented time.
Conjure began working with Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust (RFL) on a rapid innovation project to satisfy this need and support frontline staff self-testing and organisational and public health reporting. Clarity, ease of use, security and scalability were key, as this service plays an integral part in the continued efforts of the NHS throughout the pandemic and beyond to provide a safe environment for staff and patients.
The Lantern platform began as a web-app to report and record lateral flow device (LFD) rapid tests, which were the main method of testing for NHS trusts, organisations and staff members. As the pandemic continued, testing needs changed to continue to ensure the utmost level of protection for staff and patients. Organisations and trusts enforced the need for referencing a cloud based LIMS solution, which provides additional accuracy and key viral data to validate testing outcomes.
Staff/patients feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with ease of use, self-registration of specimens, and status tracking the most-often cited benefits.
James Davis, Director of Innovation – Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
Throughout the creation of the initial web-app and the evolution of the Lantern platform to support testing at a patient, administration and laboratory level, Conjure approached this project with the same customer-led design thinking process employed across all of their projects. This allowed the rapid scoping, design and delivery of a secure and scalable system that remains simple and straight-forward to use.
The service’s design was clinically led and focused, with Conjure co-developing the Lantern system in collaboration with RFL to ensure a system that was simple to operate from an organisation onboarding and daily operations point of view.
Detailed user experience journeys were defined to ensure and validate that the UX and UI realised maximum customer need. Journeys were simplified wherever possible to keep clarity and simplicity and to minimise effort from patient, administration and laboratory perspectives.
Transparency and ease of use was a key focus in the design and development of the platform across all user types – whether the user is a patient checking the status of their test, an organisational administrator reporting the Covid status of their team to occupational health, or a lab technician testing and confirming a positive result.
Conjure’s dedicated web technologies team iterated at break-neck speed, utilising Agile sprints to their full potential to iterate, adapt and improve the service to satisfy trusts’ needs and support changing and evolving testing and reporting requirements as part of the NHS’ Covid-19 Response.
Conjure’s end-to-end development of the front-end application, back-end APIs, integrations, database and infrastructure requirements ensured that all aspects of the platform were in harmony and leveraged synergies where possible, keeping the platform stable, responsive and scalable. Thorough testing of the platform during every iteration minimised potential system downtime, issues and errors, with robust controls integrated to maximise reporting accuracy, speed and uptime.
The Lantern platform significantly reduced manual effort and overhead at laboratories through the implementation of integrated plate map technology, allowing labs to process more samples in less time with more accuracy.
Innovations such as these drastically shortened turn-around-times, which are vital to support the twice-weekly testing of NHS staff and to keep our frontline workers and wider communities safe and Covid-free. The partnership between RFL and Conjure optimised capabilities to roll out both LFD and cloud based testing results service at a rapid pace, while ensuring that a legacy system is in place to support other use-cases, pathologies and integrations in the future as the need arises – maximising value to the NHS.
Today, the Lantern platform supports 15 NHS organisations and trusts across the UK and is used to register, process and report over 1,000 tests per day on average. The Lantern platform continues to grow, with more trusts on-boarded monthly, and provides a shining example of resilience in the face of global uncertainty and rapid innovation in the face of an immediate societal need.