Tameside General Hospital in Lancashire has become the first to implement a new web-based pharmacy solution from Ascribe.

The new solution enables users to raise requests for prescriptions to the hospital pharmacy through authorised web-access points.

Ascribe says the main benefits are considerable time-savings and further reductions in errors, also that solution also marks a major step towards further integration with other clinical systems within hospitals.

Stephen Freeborn, Ascribe’s head of pharmacy explained: “This implementation is essentially the departmental pharmacy system for stock control and dispensary functions. As a web based solution it enables ePrescribing and eNurse Administration recording to be integrated completely with the supply function. Any information recorded can be interfaced from and into any other system that requires it.”

Tameside’s chief pharmacist Tony Sivner, said: “The solution is up and running and it is allowing us to process our incoming prescription requests without delays. Now that this system is in place we look forward to developing further integration with our other IT systems.”

Ascribe says its solutions are installed in 60% of UK hospitals and the new web-based solution, called Ascribe Web-enabled Pharmacy, will be rolled out to other hospitals that feel they can benefit.

Freeborn said: “The Ascribe Pharmacy system is tried and tested over many years and moved from a DOS operating system to Windows in 2000. This is a change of technology that keeps the system at the forefront of development. There are some parts of the system that are familiar and some that are new, for example the reporting system.”

The company explained that the upgrade as implemented at Tameside was to the pharmacy system. It is an enabler for Ascribe’s ePrescribing and eNurse Administration but this part of the project is in the planning stage.

Eventually the technology will integrate the whole process in steps consisting of:

• The prescriber enters the medication;

• The pharmacy receives and checks the request (having also been checked for appropriateness electronically through the Ascribe Decision Support Software) and supplying the medication;

• The pharmacy creates a electronic order for the wholesaler to resupply;

• The nurse receives a message to administer and records the administration;

• The detail stored for inclusion in a discharge letter or electronic file for transport to external systems.

Expected benefits include more detailed and more effective reporting of drug usage and expenditure and, when related medications management and e-prescribing work takes place, safety benefits should be realised, such as being able to read prescriptions and double check patient details, dosages and drug interactions.

Ascribe CEO and chairman, Stephen Critchlow, commented: “We are delighted with the initial progress reports, this is a major technological breakthrough and we are now starting to make real progress in the web-based integration of clinical systems in healthcare”.