Paper free prescribing goes live at Grimsby hospital

Patients are set to benefit from the rollout of new technology for prescribing and administering medicines at the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby.

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

a man and a woman looking at a computer screen

Paulash Haider, assistant chief pharmacist and lead for the rollout of ePMA shows staff nurse Esther Ojo how to use the system

Grimsby is the third and final of Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust’s hospitals to go live with electronic prescribing and medicines administration (ePMA). Goole hospital staff started using the system in October 2019, followed by Scunthorpe in February 2020.

Months in the planning the ‘go-live’ of the system took place at lunchtime today on the Amethyst Ward and the Stroke Unit. Other wards will follow in coming weeks.

Around 500 doctors, nurses, pharmacists and allied health professionals have been trained on the system ahead of the launch.

ePMA is accessed via workstation on wheels (WoWs) which were rolled out in 2019 so ward staff could familiarise themselves with the new kit ahead of the launch.

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

Paulash Haider, assistant chief pharmacist, has led on the project from the early planning and procurement stages right through to go live. He said: “We’re so pleased to finally be bringing the technology to Grimsby. We’re already seeing the benefits at Goole and Scunthorpe where staff have embraced the new way of working. We’ve seen fewer prescribing and administering errors as a result and increased staff productivity as staff don’t need to search for paper charts.

“We’ve got a lot of wards to get through so the rollout will continue ward by ward over the next few months but it’s great to see that staff on our two go live wards are already getting to grips with the system and hand written prescriptions will soon become a thing of the past.”

Dr Alexander Broadbent and Dr San Pyae were among the first to use the system

Dr Alexander Broadbent, speciality trainee, was one of the first to use the system. He said: “It’s great to see ePMA rolling out at Grimsby and I’m looking forward to getting to grips with it. I’ve worked at other hospitals in the area that use similar systems and the main benefit is that it will reduce the chance of any transcription errors.”

Dr San Pyae, internal medicine trainee, added, “For me the best thing about it is we can prescribe from anywhere; we don’t have to be by the patient’s bedside, we could be at the other end of the hospital. As well as prescribing medicines we can log on to amend or stop someone’s medication if we need to; for instance if we get their scans results back.”

Amy Taylor, staff nurse was the first nurse to administer medicines via the system. She said: “So far I’m finding the system easy to use. It’s a lot clearer than trying to read doctor’s handwriting and it highlights what medication each patient requires, at what dosage and at what time it’s due, so I’ve no doubt it will reduce the chance of any medication errors.”

The Trust has been able to move to this way of working after it was successful in bidding for a £940,000 slice of national funding to rollout ePMA.