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MIPS (Flanders) helped national governments control COVID
To control the COVID-19 pandemic and scale up testing capacity, governments around the world set up screening programs. In Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany, software systems developed by MIPS in Ghent (Flanders) play an important role in these programs. How? By facilitating communication between testing laboratories, government software platforms, and the agencies that centralize and report COVID screening data.
Optimal information flows
When the coronavirus hit full force in March 2020, one of the main priorities was to quickly scale up COVID testing capacity. In Belgium, of which Flanders is the northern region, a testing hub was set up with the help of a consortium of university hospitals and software, biotech, and pharma companies.
To support the workflow digitally and allow the information to flow optimally between various labs, government departments, healthcare providers, and contact tracers, a cloud-based IT platform was built using MIPS solutions. These solutions involved the laboratory information system GLIMS and the CyberLab application, which allows doctors to request tests and consult with their patients about those results.
Tooth and nail
The members of the consortium worked tooth and nail to set up the IT platform at record speed in Belgium.
“MIPS’s involvement started with a phone call over the weekend on 22 March 2020. We immediately assigned a team to this project to support the government in dealing with this crisis. On 9 April, the first results rolled out of the system, barely 17 days after first contact about this project.”
– John Lebon, CEO of MIPS.
In a very short time, a method was developed to automate the tests. The whole process was based on a standard approach, which made it possible to add extra labs later for the project in just under a week. At the same time, MIPS helped individual labs increase their capacity for PCR testing by connecting additional PCR devices.
Millions upon millions of test results
Just a few months later, by October 2020, over 1,200,000 test results had already been recorded in the IT platform. Meanwhile, MIPS was actively involved in the rollout of Platform.bis, through which the Belgian government sought to further expand testing capacity so that all recognized Belgian labs could work together to process 70,000 to 90,000 tests per day. MIPS, for its part, ensured that the requests for COVID-19 testing from both primary care and hospitals automatically arrived in the labs’ information systems, allowing them to process the tests quickly and optimally.
Helping the Dutch, French, and Germans
But it didn’t end there. MIPS solutions were also deployed beyond Flanders’ borders – in the Netherlands, France, and Germany:
- To enable nationwide COVID screening, the Dutch government set up the CoronIT platform, which exchanges data with the information systems of the labs performing corona tests. In just a few weeks, MIPS connected 12 labs, which the GGDs – the Dutch Municipal health services – work with directly, to the platform. Next, another 15 labs, which perform analyses when the GGD test labs reach their limit, were integrated. The result? All connected labs smoothly receive electronic orders for COVID-19 analyses and send the results back to the GGDs.
- Meanwhile, the French government established the SI-DEP IT platform to allow for lab tests to be requested, the test results to be sent back to doctors and patients, the information to be entered into the French government’s contact tracing app, and the results to be stored securely in a national database. CyberLab, a MIPS web application, was chosen to be the heart of this platform.
- In Germany, MIPS developed various tools and functionalities for its customers in the face of COVID as well. For example, customer systems were adapted in response to the VAT reduction from 19% to 16% launched by the federal government. And when it comes to the COVID contact tracing app developed by the German government, MIPS has made every effort to provide its customers with the best possible support in the processes related to SARS-2 diagnostics, such as the transfer of data and the billing of associated laboratory services.
“We are proud to have been able to play our part in the national testing platforms in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and Germany to help contain the COVID-19 pandemic, assisting national authorities and health professionals to get the crisis under control.”
– John Lebon, CEO of MIPS.
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