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Ease prescribing as paperless system is go!

05 August 2015

Health Care

Southend University Hospital has recently launched its electronic prescribing and medicines administration (ePMA) system, also known as e-prescribing.

Designed to save staff time, help improve the flow of patients and, most importantly, help improve patient safety and overall quality of care, it was successfully rolled out onto Balmoral ward after several months of training and testing.

Benefits include the elimination of errors from handwritten prescriptions, decreasing the risk of medication errors. The system also offers decision support to providing clinical information which helps guide them through the e-prescribing process. 

It's already having a positive impact on staff. Nurse Hayley Cross from Balmoral ward, said: "We were a bit hesitant of the change but have adapted to it quite quickly. We still have some of our patients' details on paper charts and can't wait for all the patients to change to e-prescribing. The time saved in not having to search for paper charts and not having to send the charts to pharmacy is so invaluable on the busy ward. It's better for us and better for patients."

The move to ePMA is part of the government's wider plans to create a 'paperless' NHS by 2018.  The project is part-funded via the government's 'Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards: Technology Fund'. Its launch has been a successful group effort with teams from pharmacy, IT, nursing and clinicians all involved in the configuration, drug file building, testing and training to get the system ready for use.

Chris Overland, pharmacy electronic prescribing and computer services manager, said: "This newly installed JAC ePMA module will 'close the loop' between a doctor prescribing a prescription on the ward, the drugs being dispensed in pharmacy, and nurses administering them to a patient. It will provide a complete electronic record of medicines prescribed, dispensed and administered."

e-prescribing will continue to be rolled out across wards and outpatient clinics over the next 18 months.