Taking Pharmacy to the wards

When North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCU) was established from the merger of a number of healthcare providers, they needed to address the differences between the pharmacy systems they used within all of their sites.

The lack of consistency in the pharmacy departments across the trust not only created problems with integrating the different healthcare sites, but it also made stock management and financial reporting difficult. This variance meant that staff that changed sites within the trust had to learn a new pharmacy IT-system every time. Also prior to EMIS Health, the absence of an electronic Patient Medication Record (PMR) also meant that all records and script recording were paper based; paper moves slowly and gets lost.

After implementing EMIS Health Hospital Pharmacy, NCU were able to easily generate accurate stock reports across multiple sites. This has improved efficiency and lowered costs by reducing stock holding and by implementing electronic ordering. The stock reports are invaluable sources of data as the NCU can accurately claim revenue for their services through the Government’s Payment By Results system.

Patients first

EMIS Health’s Hospital Pharmacy solution has helped improve their dispensing processes. The Patient Medication Record within the dispensing module of the system stores current and historical data relating to a patient’s use or requirements for CIVAS, Extemp, In-patient, Outpatient, Discharge, Self-Medication, Leave, Patient's own and Ward Stock. This enabled a far more efficient screening process.

The system also supports ward based labelling and order set dispensing. This makes repeat dispensing a much faster process, improving the service they provide to patients.

Pharmacy on the ward

EMIS Health’s Hospital Pharmacy system enables the pharmacy department to deliver services outside the physical confines of their department due to access being made available through a ‘thin’ client network within the hospital or via the intranet. The electronic medicines management (eMM) strategy contributes to both improved patient safety and significant cost savings.

The eMM strategy allows pharmacy staff out into the clinical area to manage medicines and influence prescribing. As the ward based staff can also access current and historic medication regimes using the electronic patient records, the strategy set out by EMIS Health has allowed a far more efficient, paperless screening system.

“...we have had the system for less than six months, I cannot imagine working without it.”

Kathryn Ball, Deputy Chief Pharmacist/ Non-Medical Prescribing Lead at North Cumbria

What’s next?

Additional opportunities also exist to integrate EMIS Health with a Discharge Letter that could be sent as an automated process and used to better inform GPs as to the diagnosis and treatment of their patients within their local hospital.

The Patient Medical Record provides a central repository of patient data. This opens up a number of opportunities for integrating other systems and data seamlessly. With the use of Electronic Prescribing the ward could further improve patient safety by reducing transcription errors and by enabling the accurate recording of medicines administration data within each patient’s PMR.