The Alpha Portal

An easier way of working

The impact of the Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) on the colorectal cancer referral pathway is well documented. Having a quick and easy-to-use test, that can be directly loaded onto the automated testing platform in the laboratory makes it an ideal solution for triaging the two-week-wait pathway. However, the benefit of FIT has been tempered by the additional workload faced in logistics and sample distribution.

Laboratories and service providers are having to work tirelessly to distribute kits to GPs, Clinics, and Patients, and demand is beginning to outstrip capacity. With that in mind, Alpha Laboratories has worked in conjunction with laboratories to bring you the next phase of FIT evolution that will help ease the logistics burden: The Alpha Portal (TAP).

The Alpha Portal offers:

  • A snap-shot of FIT-Kit stock levels, lot and expiry dates
  • Document proofs and print-ready versions of the kit components,
  • Comprehensive product descriptions for each component,
  • A traceable ordering system which allows sites to deliver kits to any UK location,
  • Order reporting: run reports to highlight demand at each site, and ordering frequency.

TAP offers a new perspective on the distribution of sample kits: whether it’s for issuing direct-to-patient, or for larger orders going to GPs or Clinics. It gives the user greater control over the logistics associated with FIT, and facilitates a traceable, efficient, and manageable solution which can be scaled up and down as required.

Users of TAP are enjoying the benefits it brings

Lynne Taylor is the Study Coordinator at NHS Tayside Hospital, where she has worked for 50 years.

Before The Alpha Portal (TAP), the FIT kitting process was very manual and time consuming.

Tayside transitioned to using TAP back in November 2023, and Lynne has given us an insight into the benefits of using the portal for online ordering of FIT-KIT’s straight to GP’s.

“My workflow is greatly improved …I can also say that using the portal has released me to take on new tasks and responsibilities.”

Before using TAP, how did you prepare and send patient packs out to GP’s?

Before we started using the portal I could spend quite a lot of my day packaging and sending FIT kits to our users.

Prior to considering sending kits out, I would have to make sure I always had plenty of stock which of course included stock control and finding storage space for the thousands of FIT tubes and envelopes we got through. I also had to manually unpack and transport all of this to and from storage.

Once I received the stock, I would sit and count the instruction leaflets into bundles of 50 and rubber band them and include a with compliments slip which I also had to create and print.

This was very time consuming!

GP’s and other users would email their requests to me, and I would then pack up the appropriate amount of supplies and send them out via our mailroom to be delivered.’

Did you have any reservations about using TAP?

When we first considered the portal, I must admit to being a little apprehensive about losing control of deliveries. It was our own mail room and vans we used to deliver the kits and it was easy to find out where and at what stage the delivery was at.

Any concerns I had were certainly unfounded. If there is ever a query about delivery, it is dealt with very timely and efficiently. I think there has only been one so far and it turns out to be even easier to track progress through Alpha.

Customer service has been very good and there is always someone to answer your queries very quickly.

How has being on TAP improved your workflows?

My workflow is greatly improved as I no longer have to wrestle with deliveries and break off from other jobs to package up parcels to send to GP’s.

I can also say that using the portal has released me to take on new tasks and responsibilities.

Are there any specific features that you like about TAP?

The portal is very clear and easy to use and the initial set up was easy, all I had to do was supply a list of GP’s addresses and post codes.

Considering the fact I have had no negative feedback at all from our users I think they are happy with the new system too.

How does the FIT ordering portal work?

The named contact is assigned as the Primary Account holder: they will be the main point of contact and will dictate subsequent users’ level of access. Each user profile is grouped according to the level of access required. This will determine the number of kits they can order in a given timeframe (to help prevent over-stocking) and what reports can be run. Each log-in is bespoke and orders can be tracked to the user profile.

When using TAP, only kits relevant to your service are visible – so there is no chance of ordering the wrong product. There is a list of the components, the stock available, and the print-ready files should you need to review them. The stock is managed by Alpha Laboratories, and when the stock reaches “0”, the next batch of product is brought online. We monitor stock levels in the background and allocate fulfilment runs based on usage estimates.

Read the Brochure and Step by Step Guide

Watch the ordering portal instructional video:

The Alpha Portal has been designed with you in mind. We want to ensure the FIT service is scalable and does not cause unnecessary workload at any stage. By using TAP, sites across the UK have already noticed a marked difference in the management of FIT-KIT requesting.

Contact us to find out what TAP could do for your service.

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