Inpatients at the Great Western Hospital (GWH) now have their medication prescribed electronically through portable computers thanks to a new Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration (EPMA) system.
Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust secured funding last year from NHS England’s Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards Technology Fund to support the new system, which replaces handwritten charts and allows better communication between staff.
A total of 22 wards and several other inpatient areas at GWH benefit from the EPMA, which was developed by a range of staff including a dedicated project team, nurses and clinicians, to suit the hospital’s needs.
The system enables staff to have real-time access on portable computers at a patient’s bedside or elsewhere to legible and accurate information about patients’ medication and medical history.
It helps improve patient safety by giving staff access to automatic warnings about allergic reactions, drug interactions and prescribing guidelines.
EPMA also improves patient discharge timings and the flow of patients from the Emergency Department. It builds on the hospital’s prescription system for outpatients, where patient information is sent electronically to the pharmacy.
Tom Keith-Welsh, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s EPMA Project Manager, said: “It is fantastic for patients that we have EPMA live at Great Western Hospital as it enhances the safe and effective care they currently receive. It is an excellent and easy-to-use tool for staff, many of whom have been involved in the moulding of the system to suit our ways of working. When a prescription is made using the system, it checks many criteria automatically, including whether two drugs should be used together safely, whether the patient is allergic to the medicine and if there are any other clinical concerns.
“It has programmed into it all the required information about a patient and their medications and it helps nurses know when to dispense drugs.”
Pictured, Tom Keith-Welsh, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s EPMA Project Manager with Falcon Ward Staff Nurse Sonia Soares, next to a medicine trolley and an EPMA portable computer