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New way of prescribing will ensure medication is administered more safely

Dr Shahedal Bari

[A] project designed to transform inpatient drug prescribing and administration at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) is due to go-live at the Trust’s three main hospital sites by the end of April 2018.

The Electronic Patient Record (EPR) prescribing and administration project will replace current paper processes. This will help around 2,000 clinical staff, including nurses and doctors, to reduce incidents of avoidable harm associated with medications.

New benefits will include:

  • Electronic records that help nurses to further ensure that inpatients receive the best care possible
  • The system automatically checks for patient allergies and any drug interactions with current medication. These alerts are flagged up to the relevant staff member providing care
  • Alerting nursing staff to when patient’s next medication dose is due to avoid unintentional missed doses.
  • Pharmacists will be able to review the current prescriptions online which will minimise the prescription chart having to leave the ward.
  • All electronic notes and prescriptions will be legible, less scope for interpretation errors.
  • Time saved for nursing and medical staff. Prescription charts will not need to be hand rewritten and the electronic charts will always be available on ward.

David Walker, Medical Director, UHMBT, said: “This project has been running for approximately 12 months and the introduction of electronic prescribing was always considered to be the cornerstone of the Trust’s strategy for further developing its Electronic Patient Record. I am particularly excited by this project as I believe that it will deliver significant benefits for the patient and our clinical staff by improving the prescribing and administration of drugs, from supporting the supply of medicines to wards in a more timely fashion to providing a clearer, more accurate picture of the patient’s medication record, meaning safer care for patients.”

Kam Mom, Chief Pharmacist and Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer, UHMBT, said: “Electronic prescribing will bring many benefits to our patients and staff. It will l transform the care delivered in terms of improved patient safety, improved patient flow and make better use of resources. The main benefits include helping us prevent prescribing errors due to poor handwriting, missing information, transcription and dosage queries which can sometimes occur with paper based handwritten charts. In addition electronic prescribing provides more timely access to our local prescribing formulary that supports safe, effective prescribing for our patients.”

John Glover, Chief Information Officer, Bay Heath and Care Partners, said: “Medication errors are one of the major preventable sources of harm to patients in healthcare. This new system will make an important contribution to improving patient safety as well as giving greater control over drug formulary and aligning this to other parts of our health care system. Electronic prescribing and medications administration will help clinicians to more easily do the ‘right thing’ supporting them with a range of alerts that automatically flag up potential risks to patients. At the same time this rich source of data will increasingly allow the Trust to better understand how it is using drugs and to more accurately measure the benefits. In addition having this information within a patient’s electronic record improves our ability to join up records, prescribe more consistently and to manage the transition of care across Morecambe Bay.”

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