MedChart momentum in the UK fuelled by evidence of eMM benefits
New research suggests that electronic medication management may be the only effective way to reduce medication error. Hospitals in the UK, Australia and New Zealand are implementing systems that improve their ability to manage medications.
Electronic medication management (eMM) is gathering momentum in the United Kingdom with hospitals increasingly seeing e-prescribing as an essential tool. Evidence of this trend is demonstrated by plans for a fifth NHS trust to implement iSOFT MedChart, known in the UK as ePMA. iSOFT is a CSC (CSC: NYSE) company.
The trend is likely to continue with a growing body of evidence indicating the effectiveness of electronic medication management. One such example is new research from Professor Johanna Westbrook of the University of New South Wales. The researchers found significant decreases in medication error when e-prescribing systems were used. iSOFT’s MedChart was one of two solutions evaluated during the study. Wards using MedChart experienced a 57.5 percent reduction in prescribing errors, harmful errors were reduced by an impressive 44 percent.
“Research suggests that electronic medication management is the most, possibly the only, effective intervention to reduce medication error,” said James Rice, iSOFT APAC managing director.
“This is heartening news. We’ve known for a long time that medication error is one of the greatest causes of harm, waste and cost. Now we also know that electronic medication management solutions can significantly improve medication safety for better and less expensive care.”
In the drive toward electronic medical records (EMR), trusts in the UK are prioritising how they manage medications and share this information with other hospital systems – they are doing this by implementing ePMA systems such as MedChart.
The first NHS trust piloted MedChart (ePMA) in late 2011. Following the successful pilot, work commenced on implementing e-prescribing across numerous specialities at the hospital trust’s four main hospitals, including accident and emergency, medical assessment unit and, oncology and surgical wards, under plans for a trust-wide implementation.
Around the same time, a second NHS Foundation Trust in the north of England completed a rigorous clinical engagement programme to evaluate suitability of MedChart for the acute NHS environment. In May 2011, the trust decided to implement the solution across its 700-beds. Go-live is planned for the first quarter of 2012.
In December 2011 a third trust announced progress toward a full-end-to-end electronic patient record, with roll-out of MedChart medication management. Ultimately, the new system will provide integrated management of stock control and dispensing.
A 367-bed NHS Foundation Trust is the latest NHS trust to select MedChart. The electronic medication management software will be integrated with the trust’s existing IT infrastructure including patient administration system (PAS), laboratory and eDischarge systems to facilitate the timely and accurate sharing of medicines related information within the trust and with general practitioners.
A similar scenario is playing out in Australia and New Zealand where some hospitals began using MedChart in the early 2000’s. St. Vincent’s Hospital Sydney was one of the earliest adopters and has been using the system since 2004. Macquarie University Hospital implemented MedChart in 2010 and the following year, the Little Company of Mary Health Care (LCM) group implemented the system at a first site.
In late 2010, under the auspices of the NZ National eMedicines Program, Dunedin Hospital on New Zealand’s South Island, conducted a successful MedChart pilot. The result was massive error reduction and staff enthusiasm for change. Funding has recently been provided to roll MedChart out to another 120 beds by the end of June and plans are afoot for a regional roll-out across the Southern District Health Board. This has led to a national initiative to have electronic prescribing in every public hospital in New Zealand by the end of 2014.
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