From paper to digital: Goole hospital makes the move to electronic prescribing and medicines administration

Patients are set to benefit from the rollout of new technology for prescribing and administering medicines at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust.

The move from a paper to a digital system will improve patient safety as it will help prevent medication errors.

Goole and District Hospital is the first of the Trust’s three hospitals to go live with the electronic prescribing and medicines administration (ePMA) system.

Months in the planning the ‘go-live’ of the system took place at lunchtime today.

More than 50 doctors, nurses and allied health professionals have been trained on the system ahead of its launch.

The system is accessed via workstation on wheels (WoWs) which were rolled out earlier this year so ward staff could familiarise themselves with the new kit.

Paulash Haider, assistant chief pharmacist, has led on the project from the early planning and procurement stages right through to go live. He said: “Today’s launch has been many months in the planning and it has been fantastic to see staff starting to use and get to grips with the system. Hand written prescriptions will soon become a thing of the past.

“The staff at Goole have really embraced the changes and have been excited about being the first in the Trust to use the new system.”

Dr Afolabi Owolabi, specialty doctor on ward three was the first doctor to prescribe using the new system

Dr Afolabi Owolabi, specialty doctor on ward three was the first in the Trust to prescribe using ePMA.

He said: “It’s much easier to use and there’s less chance of making mistakes as it will say if there’s a possible interaction with another drug. As well as being safer for patients it will also save time for doctors like me. The fact it’s online and not on a drug chart at the bedside means it’s more secure in terms of patient confidentiality.”

Doctors can use the system to check appropriate doses and to cross check for allergies as well as drug interactions while they are prescribing.

In addition to reducing the chance of prescribing errors the ePMA system also reduces the chance of errors when medicines are being administered to patients. Nurses can see clearly what drug and dose has been prescribed and they can look up information on drugs at their fingertips rather than referring to the paper copy of the formulary. There’s also a clear record of who has administered what and when.

The Trust was successful in bidding for a £940,000 slice of national funding to rollout ePMA. Two wards went live on the system today, wards three and four. The rest of Goole hospital will be next followed by Scunthorpe and Grimsby hospitals in 2020/21.

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