South Tees reaches e-prescribing milestone in EPR journey with Alcidion and Better Meds

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has taken the next step in its modern, modular electronic patient record (EPR) programme, having gone live with electronic prescribing and medication administration (ePMA) system Better Meds.

The trust has deployed Better Meds to inpatient and outpatient areas, where it is already removing paper forms and manual processes, as well as helping busy healthcare professionals to make safe prescribing decisions.

The ePMA solution fully integrates with Miya Precision, Alcidion’s EPR, which is being deployed across the trust to advance digital maturity in ways that respond to clinical priorities and alleviate pressures faced by clinicians. The trust has also simultaneously gone live with electronic discharge notification functionality within the Alcidion Miya Precision system.

Daniel Pugh, a senior informatics pharmacy technician for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “There is a lot of excitement across the trust about the possibilities from this ePMA implementation, and other digitisation taking place in South Tees Hospitals.

“Integrating electronic prescribing into our Alcidion EPR, joins up drug information with patient assessments, allergies, lab results, vital signs and more. This provides a safety barrier that will help prescribers make better informed decisions for patients. It will also save valuable time for clinicians, for example, through easy access to standardised order sets and the ability to prescribe from anywhere.

“Electronic discharge will also become much easier for doctors. Rather than having to manually transcribe medicines, staff just open a discharge letter in Miya Precision, and all the drugs for a patient appear. This reduces the risk of errors and represents an improvement in patient safety.”

The trust will now benefit from a better audit trail of every medication dose administered, and staff across wards will gain easier visibility of when medicines are due for patients. “Some medicines require administration within a strict timeframe, for example, drugs related to Parkinson’s disease,” said Pugh. “We will be able to monitor that and many other scenarios. Trend analysis will allow us to easily identify any potential issues early so we can act swiftly and provide more resources to a ward when needed.”

Codified data will also support the trust in financial reporting, so that it can more easily link medicines to specific patients and reclaim money that can be reinvested into patient care.

The ePMA implementation represents an important step on the trust’s journey through stages of the HIMSS Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model. A whole range of additional functionality will complement the go-live as the trust continues to progress its deployment of Miya Precision.

Dr Andrew Adair, chief clinical information officer, at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “E-prescribing is the latest important step on our modular EPR journey, that is allowing us to move at pace towards the highest levels of digital maturity through technology that people want to use.

“Better Meds is highly synergistic with our Alcidion Miya Precision system – and will integrate closely with e-noting, e-observations, patient flow journey boards and more, in ways that reduce the cognitive load for clinicians by making information useful and supporting clinical decisions. Responsibility for prescribing decisions still rests with the clinician, but they will no longer need to manually manage every detail and every process about medicines, conflicts and interactions, guidance and more.”

Roko Malkoč, business unit director, Better Meds, added: “South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has shown high digital transformation maturity, resulting from the excellent internal alignment driven by an experienced team. We believe that collaboration with Alcidion in the trust will bring direct benefits with real-time access to all healthcare data for caregivers. Both encourage us to follow our vision of medication management without errors.”

The deployment is the first in NHS to see a trust to implement an ePMA module as part of an Alcidion EPR programme.

Lynette Ousby, UK managing director for Alcidion, said: “Digitisation in healthcare should be about using technology to respond to clinical and operational priorities in the right order for NHS customers. In this case, e-prescribing will help staff to safely get the right medicines to the right patient, at the right time. South Tees Hospitals is a strong example of a trust that is delivering technology to respond to the needs of its clinicians. Doing that effectively requires flexibility from technology providers and a willingness to work together. It’s really rewarding to see the benefits of a modern, modular approach to digitisation working so well in practice.”

Kate Quirke, CEO for Alcidion, said: “I’m impressed by the speed at which South Tees Hospitals is progressing its digital journey, and by the enthusiasm for digital transformation at all levels of the organisation. I look forward to seeing the impact of this latest stage of the trust’s programme, and to further developments in the near future.”