Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust has become the first UK trust to install a second generation Electronic Prescribing and Medication Administration system, developed by JAC Computer Services.

The 450-bed Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester is thought to be first UK hospital trust to replace an existing EPMA with a next generation system, a move that required a ‘big bang’ implementation across the trust. 

The EPMA system manages the entire cycle of medication management from prescribing, clinical verification and supply, to bed side nurse administration. Ward based staff use mobile computers on the trust’s wireless network to prescribe and administer medicines at the bedside.

EPMA went live across the Royal Hampshire County Hospital between 11 and 15 September. It integrates with the trust’s existing JAC Pharmacy Management module to provide a fully integrated Medication Management solution.

Robert Tysall-Blay, chief executive of JAC Computer Services, told E-Health Insider: "JAC’s prescribing and medicines administration system is fully integrated with JAC’s pharmacy stock control management system and provides a single seamless system."  

The new system also incorporates decision support from First Data Bank Europe (FDBE) providing real-time alerts for potential medical errors due to allergies and drug interactions.

The trust is due to receive a Release Zero Cerner Millennium clinical system implemented by Fujitsu as part of the NHS National Programme for IT. The Millennium system is understood to include electronic prescribing as one of its core clinical components, but not as part of Release Zero. 

Winchester has long been one of a handful of NHS hospital trusts actually operating electronic prescribing. The trust was one of a handful of Hospital Information System pilots dating back to the late 80’s – together with Wirral and Burton – which implemented TDS and Meditch systems incorporated electronic prescribing.

"The significance of this implementation is that it is the first ever implementation of a second generation electronic prescribing system," said Tysall-Blay.

He told EHI that in some ways this was easier than implementing e-prescribing from scratch as staff were already familiar with using computers for prescribing, but also more difficult as it required a big bang switch over and you couldn’t start with pilots in a few wards and build up. "With the trust we did the whole implementation in five days."

So far the Royal Hampshire County Hospital and Hampshire Partner NHS Trust are are using the system with Andover County Hospital to follow.

Peter Knight, managing director of clinical support and asset management at Winchester said: “Having been a long term user of electronic prescribing we are acutely aware of the importance of these systems."

Knight added: "The new system uses mobile terminals to facilitate on-line prescribing and drug administration which will further help our clinical staff in the complex world of medication management."

Deployment of the EPMA took six months from contract signature to go-live and staff have taken to the new system well.

Joyce Bould, clinical lead at Winchester added: “We have been delighted at the acceptance of the JAC Prescribing and Administration system by our staff. They find the system easy to use, and like the screen design because so much information can be seen at once. Clinically, this system gives us what we have wanted for years – prescribing charts on screen, clinical checking, and quick and easy access to patient information.

“Staff are able to use the system effectively after a relatively short training session. Winchester already used electronic prescribing, so we had to go for a ‘big bang’ strategy for our implementation – and run with two electronic systems for as short a time as possible.”

Tysall-Blay added: “Winchester was the first hospital in the UK to implement electronic prescribing, and the uniqueness of Winchester in now being the first site in the UK to replace an existing electronic prescribing system should not go unrecognised.”


JAC Computer Services Ltd