Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust is on-track to complete the first implementation phase of CSC’s e-prescribing and medicines administration system.

MedChart EPMA went live at the trust in April and Harrogate has recently extended the roll-out of the system to its medical wards. It hopes to finish this part of the project by October.

The system replaces the traditional method of prescribing by paper. Andrew Alldred, the trust’s director of pharmacy, told eHealth Insider that the £200,000 implementation has gone “incredibly well”, thanks in part to a partnership with other MedChart hospital sites.

“As a trust we have been planning for e-prescribing for around two years, and the driver for that has been improving the quality of prescribing in the hospital service,” he said.

“We have been working in a partnership with University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust and Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

“We have all planned and gone live together so that we have some peer support. We [Harrogate] have rolled out across the whole of surgery theatre and pre-assessment, which was completed by June.”

Staff undertook two hours of face-to-face training on the system, which Alldred described as “intuitive and easy to use.” He said feedback had been positive across “nursing, medical and the pharmacy family.”

The system interfaces with the trust’s Silverlink patient administration system, with the patient demographic information feeding into MedChart.

Clinicians have also identified and linked the blood results contained in the pathology system that are most likely to be required when prescribing.

Alldred said his the trust is also working with Leicester to develop a method of linking MedChart to its Sunquest ICE eDischarge systems, which will eventually input the ‘medicines for discharge’ directly into the patient’s discharge letter.

An alert in the system ensures medications are administered to patients on time and the system has contributed to Harrogate reducing its medicine administration time to patients by 30%.

“We have seen an improvement in the timeliness of when medications are administered. The system states when the medication should be administered to a patient and if this is missed then an alarm goes off to make sure the medications are administered,” Alldred explained.

“It has also made a major difference in the quality of prescribing in terms of clarity. It takes away the handwriting of medicines from medical staff that required interpretation and clarification, which increased the rate of errors in the system.”

The next phase of implementation revolves around the prescribing of infusions, which is more complex because of the need to state the speed at which nurses should infuse the medication.

The trust has agreed to develop and pilot the system with CSC. Other future developments included improving blood clot prescribing processes and increased clinical audits and safety monitoring.

“Overall it has been a really successful project and the key has been having senior clinical engagement in the project and one of the reasons for that happening is because the systems works and they can see that it’s improving safety and quality,” Alldred added.