Championing interoperability with First of Type interface enabling closed loop prescribing within Acute settings

Working in close partnership with AllScripts has allowed us to develop a First of Type interface between AllScripts Sunrise and the EMIS Health pharmacy product. Piloted at Royal Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, this interface allows medication supply requests to be sent directly from the ePMA system to hospital pharmacies, helping clinicians to reduce risk, improve efficiencies and enhance the patient experience.

Interoperability is vital to our vision of the future; not only does it form a key part of the EMIS Health strategy, but as one of the founding members of INTEROPen we’re committed to industry collaboration to help create and adopt the latest interoperability standards. Working closely with this community, we’ve contributed to the latest FHIR standards, and we’re committed to continuing our work on adopting these standards.

Hospital care is complex; a multitude of departments and care teams, each with their own specific needs has resulted in many bespoke systems that often operate in silo. Regardless of the use of Best of Breed or an EPR, Trusts must enable interoperable systems that talk to one another and provide the opportunity to “free up time and resources to focus on clinical care and staying healthy”, a key objective of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Creating efficiencies that enhance the patient experience

EMIS Health and Allscripts came together in 2019 to develop a digital interface between systems that moved hospital teams away from paper-based prescribing, and toward a direct and instant digital solution. Written prescribing is susceptible to clinical error; from transcription mistakes to misdosing, and even illegible writing. A 2018 report from the Department of Health & Social Care highlighted digital prescribing as a key mechanism in tackling medication-related harm, stating that high-risk medication errors can be reduced by up to 50% through the use of e-prescribing solutions. As more and more Trusts realise the benefits of ePMA, it’s becoming increasingly important that all clinical systems can communicate with each other.

Through this new digital prescribing and dispensing interface, clinicians can provide a safer service that both saves time and reduces the risk of the wrong medication being supplied. With the previously employed paper process, prescriptions were physically collected by pharmacy staff throughout the day, resulting in significant spikes in workload and a lengthy wait on medication. With our new interface, pharmacy staff are able to receive and process a constant trickle of requests throughout the day – not only enabling them to manage their time more efficiently, but resulting in shorter wait times for patients.

These reduced timeframes not only help to improve outcomes and experiences for those in hospital, but also help to accelerate the discharge process for those no longer requiring care. Experience shows us that many patients ready to be discharged can be waiting for long periods for medication, meaning less beds available to those who need them. With an interoperable system that connects prescribing to dispensing, we’re able to increase efficiencies, providing medication to patients quicker than before, meaning happier patients and more available beds.

Working together towards an interoperable future

Here at EMIS Health, we’re committed to providing the best possible experience for clinicians and patients alike through effective digital solutions. Collaborating with partners is one of the many ways we’re able to find the best solutions that support the needs of our customers.

The team behind this project are now sharing their experience and lessons learned with other hospital trusts and suppliers, in the hopes that the medicines management community can benefit from these learnings, and implement improvements within their own organisations. 

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