Birmingham NHS in largest e-prescribing roll out

The largest UK roll out of hospital electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) software has kicked off at Birmingham's Heart of England National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust.

The trust's board has chosen to implement the e-prescribing and medicines administration (EPMA) system from medicines management supplier JAC across three of its acute sites to ensure best practice for patient safety.

The hospital EPMA roll out will provide new functionality and reporting tools for managing inpatient and to-take-out (TTO) medicines to several thousand frontline clinicians, covering over 1,800 beds in every ward and theatre at the trust's Heartlands, Solihull and Good Hope hospitals.

The aggressive roll out is scheduled for completion by July 2009 14 months after the implementation team was expanded in preparation for the trust-wide deployment and integration with existing pharmacy management systems. A dedicated team of pharmacy and nursing staff has also been put in place to manage the process.

The trust has been a JAC pharmacy management systems user for a number of years, according to Niall Poole, electronic prescribing project manager at the trust. Other successful EPMA installations include Winchester and Great Ormond Street among others.

"Integrating the EPMA system provides a comprehensive medicines management solution that connects clinical and pharmacy staff across the trust," said Poole.

The new systems will also support improved patient safety processes by incorporating the Multilex Drug Data File (Multilex DDF), from First DataBank Europe (FDBE). The Multilex DDF UK knowledge base will provide the system's clinical users with patient-specific clinical decision support to actively check for drug interactions, duplicate therapies and drug allergies.

"E-prescribing minimises the risk of medication errors in many ways: from the very basic, such as producing legible prescriptions, which are not subject to the difficulties and potential dangers of reading and interpreting handwriting, to the very advanced, such as drug interaction information at the point of prescribing," Poole added.

The trust also plans to extend the deployment to its outpatients department in the future.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

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