Improved medication management is on the top priority list of things the NHS plans to enhance in the following years. On 6 February, UK’s Govconnect - a social enterprise dedicated to assisting the wide range of organisations challenged with delivering the NHS 5 year forward view strategy and all other associated healthcare policies, organised the conference Improving Patient Safety & Care 2019. The topics included electronic prescribing and medication administration (ePMA), which has been heavily funded in the UK since last year. Anže Droljc, our Head of Clinical Applications, David Chalkley, Deputy CCIO and Digital Clinical Safety Lead at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, and Paul Barrett, Business Development Director for Health at CGI - one of Marand’s partners in the UK - shared their insight into electronic prescribing and our ePMA system Better Meds. We talked with Anže Droljc after the conference.
Anže, you recently visited the GovConnect Improving Patient Safety & Care event in London where you were presenting the Better Meds together with our partner CGI and the Somerset NHS Trust. Paul Barret, David Chalkley and you were joined by a Consultant Cardiologist from Taunton, Mark Dayer.
Indeed. And, I was really glad to learn that cardiologist Mark Dayer joined us as well. Having strong consultant support within the Trust when it comes to implementing an ePMA system is really crucial for the overall success of the journey. Moreover, Mark was very clear that the current paper processes have a range of clinical risks which are difficult to mitigate in the absence of a digital system, and explained that the clinical body is supportive of the move to well-designed electronic solutions, although this seems a big step; the sooner they can safely implement the Better Meds, the better for everyone involved.
These days everyone speaks about the benefits of an ePMA solution. Therefore, I was glad that Mark took a fresh approach and just briefly mentioned the well-known advantages of an ePMA solution – such as no handwriting to interpret, being unable to prescribe unavailable drugs and clarity as to what has been dispensed – and then mainly focused on the potential risks and challenges the introduction of an ePMA system might bring – such as upfront costs software, the required hardware, continuous training of the staff and even inappropriate selection of medication. Acknowledging these risks is really important and the only way to successfully mitigate them and improve the success of the overall digital transformation journey.
Dr Dayer's lecture was preceded by David Chalkley, Deputy CCIO and Digital Clinical Safety Lead at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.
True; and one of David's important messages was that the whole process of ePMA system selection and evaluation, business case preparation and KPI identification is also published as a blueprint for the NHS. Having done so, Somerset Trust is really executing their role of being a GDE and contributing to the overall community to learn from them. I find this extremely important for further successful ePMA implementations elsewhere. David also listed specific opportunities they have acquired by selecting and using the Better Meds – such as the user-friendly application that supports closed loop and thus helps them with one of the key requirements for the EMRAM HIMSS 6 or even 7 certification.
He also commented on the importance of having all the medication data stored in open format (openEHR) and the wider potential of setting up a vendor-neutral clinical data repository. This approach gives them full and unlimited access to all medication data and the option of saving other clinical data as well.
What were the conclusions you arrived at during the conference?
There was a lot of talk of patient safety, and how we should learn from good practices and replicate them. The importance of the availability of data and the scientific approach was also emphasised all the time. What I found crucial was the fact that everybody involved in healthcare should be focusing at all times on how to improve patient safety and patient outcomes. IT solutions have an essential part in this, but must be carefully developed and implemented to have the maximum impact on patient outcomes, transparency of healthcare and also the creation of new knowledge.
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- The journey to a paperless hospital – The importance of having a proven rollout methodology