Integrating hospital systems to improve patient care

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (“Blackpool”) has worked with EMIS Health integration experts to ensure seamless interfacing between their EMIS Health Hospital Pharmacy system and their ALERT® Electronic Healthcare Record System (EHR).

In order to support efficient and safe patient care, Blackpool engaged with EMIS Health’s integration experts to determine the most effective method of integration of their pharmacy and EHR system. This required both business, and patient care requirements to be translated into a safe and effective end-to-end design.

Integration: tailored to the trust

EMIS Health arranged a number of workshops at the trust to define a clear definition of the integration project requirements. The workshops helped identify that enabling strength switching (and similar flexibility at the dispensing stage) was of great importance to clinicians to reduce drug costs and improve stock management. As the ALERT ePMA solution did not support this function it became important to ensure staff had the flexibility within both systems to enable this function from the EMIS Health system.

Drug database considerations

To ensure a successful integration, medication information needed to be coded and safely transmitted between both systems. It was agreed between all parties to use the NHS dictionary of medicines and devices (“dm+d”) and create local coding written for any medicines not covered by the dm+d.

Robust architecture

EMIS Health carried out further discussions with Blackpool and ALERT to ensure an agreed platform was designed to support the interface between the systems. From these discussions, EMIS Health identified potential risks with Blackpool’s existing Trust Integration Engine (TIE) and ensured that all components would be brought up to a minimum level of robustness for all aspects of the process.

Plan for Implementation

After a solution was agreed upon, all parties clearly defined their deliverables and a realistic timetable of activities to be undertaken. This enabled everyone to be clear on what could and could not be delivered within the scope, setting realistic expectations and transparency between EMIS Health, ALERT and Blackpool.

“The work that has been done to date in order to develop and design the integrated interface, has been due to an effective partnership approach between ALERT, EMIS Health and the Trust.”

Craig Tilley, Lead Pharmacist at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS

This partnership has created a safer, more effective integrated system throughout the trust.