Primary Care Pathology Report Messaging
The Pathology bounded Code List (PBCL) provides a defined set of codes for use in laboratory to GP messaging.
All NHS Trusts providing a pathology service for Haematology, Biochemistry or Microbiology, are required to implement pathology messaging that meet PMIP standards. The National Messaging Assurance Service (NMAS) allows Trusts to assess their implementation of pathology report messaging against these standards.
As part of NHS England CCIO7 workstreams, NHS Digital is delivering the ability to share pathology results across health and care. Following The Future of Healthcare Vision and the NHS Digital standards framework response, NHS Digital was commissioned by NHSX to define Information Standards aligned with clinical, commissioning and patient needs to support the sharing of pathology tests and results across care settings and organisational boundaries.
The need to accelerate the development of a standardised universal test list for Pathology services formed part of the recommendations made by Professor Sir Mike Richards in a wider diagnostic review commissioned by NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens in October 2020.
To meet future NHS needs for interoperability and secondary care use within the Pathology domain, three inter-related specifications have been identified based on relevant component parts of international standards, namely:
- Unified Test List (UTL) – a national catalogue of Pathology test requests and results to replace the Pathology Bounded Code List (PBCL), based on SNOMED CT
- Units of Measure (UoM) – an unambiguous representation of commonly used units, aligned with the UTL, based on Unified Code for Units of Measure (UCUM)
- Pathology Message Specification – for interoperable data exchange of Pathology information, based on Health Level 7 (HL7) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR)
Together, as an information standard, they enable the future communication and exchange of tests, results, quantities, and units used in the Pathology domain across the NHS. The full standard is intended for use by GP, Labs, secondary care and social care (where applicable), used in GP systems, LIMS, Order Comms, pathology middleware, & clinical research.
These standards will ultimately replace the current PBCL/EDIFACT specification and have now been approved by the Data Alliance Partnership Board (DAPB).
Further information can be found on the Pathology and Diagnostics collaborative workspace.