Nurses at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust have saved nearly 20,000 hours on drug rounds after the implementation of an electronic prescribing and medicines administration (ePMA) system.

Since becoming the first in the UK to implement InterSystems TrakcCare ePMA, the trust has saved more than 50 hours a day through the reduction of time-consuming paper records.

The technology has replaced a previously paper-based approach to prescribing and administering medicines to patients, which has traditionally required nurses to spend time searching wards for patients’ medicine charts, deciphering and working from handwritten notes.

Since going live with ePMA in 2018, nurses have witnessed a substantial reduction in the average time taken to complete drug rounds, with medicines administration now completed for a patient in about one third of the time.

Under the previous paper-based system a nurse would take an average of 10 minutes to administer drugs for each patient but through ePMA this now takes a little over three minutes.

Clare Ranson, clinical matron at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s definitely reduced the amount of time nurses spend on medication rounds. The real-time record allows all those involved in care to see what’s happening – the nurses, doctors and pharmacists – not just the person holding the piece of paper.

“This is making rounds leaner with less time spent chasing up paper records across wards, freeing up time for nurses to focus on what’s important – time with patients.”

The system has also seen gains in areas like handover and reduced risk of prescription and medicine administration errors.

Mandy Skilcorn, a ward matron at the trust, added: “Before ePMA we had a completely paper-based medicine chart process that led to handwriting challenges, and actually being able to get hold of the chart to view and record administration information was difficult.

“Now, through ePMA, nurses can quickly see if anything has been missed, you can read the prescription, and you can see when drugs, like paracetamol for example, are needed, and when they were last given. Using ePMA feels a lot safer.”

The deployment of the ePMA is key part of a wider deployment of the TrakCare electronic patient record as part of the trusts digital transformation journey.

It’s one of the biggest transformational changes the trust implement as part of its EPR programme.