North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has deployed InterSystems’ electronic prescribing and medicines administration technology, TrakCare for two high-risk antibiotics.

The trust has done away with its paper prescribing for specialist antibiotics for newborn babies. Instead it has turned to TrakCare to ensure clinical teams have visibility of all the information they need to make safe and timely decisions over care. The technology digitises the management of gentamicin and vancomycin for the trust’s neonatal patients.

The move to the electronic prescribing and medicines administration (EPMA) system will safeguard the health of vulnerable patients like newborn babies and also support healthcare workers in their decision making.

Janice Atkinson, ward matron on the special care baby unit at the trust, said: “On paper charts there is nothing to remind nursing staff to make sure everything is in place, that blood tests have been requested, and that medicines have been ordered ready to give patients the medicines at those required intervals.”

“…Now we have the tools to make this much safer and to join up crucial information on how these two medicines are being used with the wider electronic patient record.

“Reviewing the chart online has given us the opportunity to ensure that the right questions are asked prior to administration, less time is spent asking/waiting for a prescription for every dose and we have a paperless audit trail of administration.”

The trust is using TrakCare as an electronic patient record (EPR) to underpin its digital transformation programme. It’s used the technology since 2019 to prescribe general medicines. Adding gentamicin and vancomycin to its capabilities means staff can prescribe the drugs, complete required documentation, order blood tests, view the results, understand why the medicine is required, view the patient’s wider medical history from within one system.

Staff will have the confidence that they’ve completed all necessary steps before proceeding and will no longer need to spend time locating the paper charts, saving valuable minutes.

Gillian Colquhoun, deputy chief information and technology officer at the trust, said: “Digital transformation is less about technology, and more about transforming processes to help people.

“Removing paper from the prescribing and administration of these medicines has helped to improve the timeliness of dose administration, and help to make sure the dose is correct based on the blood result. This information would previously have been distributed across multiple systems, or on pieces of paper. Now it’s accessible in one place, making important information on patients visible to staff more quickly and easily.”

The trust now plans to extend the use of TrakCare to incorporate other specialist medicines charts and processes. Additionally under NHS England’s Global Digital Exemplar programme – of which the trust is a GDE Fast Follower – it has shared lessons from the deployment with other trusts across the country.

“This is an important step in protecting some of the most vulnerable patients in the hospital, and in continuing to advance an organisation’s digital maturity,” added Gary Mooney, clinical solution executive at InterSystems.

Earlier this year InterSystems announced that anyone using its TrakCare system would be able to access an appointment booking system to schedule Covid vaccinations.