Saving time and improving safety through electronic medicines management

The pharmacy team at North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust are improving patient safety, delivering efficiencies and saving time since implementing our electronic medicines management solution, eMM.

The multi-site trust has 850 beds across its hospitals and 7,000 staff, including 125 in the pharmacy team. By implementing eMM, the pharmacists are spending less time in the dispensary and so have more time with patients.

“eMM has liberated technician and support worker time,” clinical director of pharmacy and medicine management, Mike Urwin, explains. “The first prescription now arrives by about 9.20am rather than at late morning, which enables the pharmacy staff to carry out dispensing sooner.”

Driving efficiencies

As well as saving time, the pharmacy is more responsive to departments across the trust - and for patients. For example, the time taken to dispense drugs has been cut by over 50% - falling from 70 minutes to only half an hour. For the acute medical ward, paper-based pharmacy collection and dispensing used to take almost six hours. With eMM, the first prescription can now arrive at the ward in just 50 minutes.

Improving patient safety

Captured dispensing errors have been significantly reduced. Before implementing the system, the team identified errors in one in 83 prescriptions at final accuracy checking, that’s now reduced to one in 200 and is falling every day. No longer using hand-written orders has also reduced the risk of misinterpretation between handovers.

eMM also incorporates a clinical decision support service which identifies dangerous drug interactions and allergic reactions – a further measure for ensuring patient safety.

“The system paid for itself in the first two months”

Mike Urwin, clinical director of pharmacy and medicine management

Sheila Strachan, principal pharmacy technician, commented that the system: “has been part of a redesign of services which has resulted in cost savings. This is due to the reduction in drug errors and improved efficiencies by changing the way the medication is ordered, whilst improving the turnaround times in the dispensary.
“By having greater control over the delivery of work to the dispensary, this minimises the peaks and troughs of dispensing activity throughout the day with work now being done in a timelier manner, with late nights diminished and decreased lieu time for staff.”

eMM and paperless pharmacy at North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust