E-prescriptions improve the patient experience

28 February 2020

Patients will be out of hospital sooner thanks to an Australian-first digital initiative launched at Blacktown Hospital in Sydney’s west.

The new system makes paper prescriptions a thing of the past, with patients’ discharge medications sent directly to pharmacists on a digital program called the ‘WatchList’ that was piloted by Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD).

Prescriptions now reach pharmacists instantly and they are automatically notified, saving nearly 40 minutes per patient on average, said WSLHD eMeds manager Liz Ellankil.

“After day one we could see improvements in the discharge medications process time, mainly due to reducing the time it takes the hospital pharmacy to retrieve the prescriptions,” Ms Ellankil said.

“The system also allows status updates at each stage of the dispensing process, which is viewable by all medical, pharmacy, nursing, midwifery and clerical staff. Currently this is handled by a different application, so it reduces the number of programs required for the discharge process.”

The new program means pharmacists spend less time on paperwork and more time with patients, said Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals pharmacy director Amy Murray.

“WatchList allows pharmacists to see all the details about a patient’s medication plan on discharge, providing a holistic view to reconcile, clinically review and supply medications for discharge,” Ms Murray said.

“This means we have more information about the patient and more time to speak with them about their medications, including what may have changed since before they were admitted to hospital. This will help to avoid confusion, address any concerns and lower the risk of them returning to hospital due to an avoidable medication error.”

WatchList is currently only being trialled at Blacktown Hospital, but based on that success the team is planning to roll it out to other sites within WSLHD and Nepean Blue Mountains LHD.

“Liz Ellankil, Amy Murray, and all the pharmacy, eMeds, nursing and medical staff involved in this trial ought to be congratulated,” said WSLHD Chief Medical Information Officer Naren Gunja.

“This is another brilliant example of clinicians integrating cutting-edge digital health innovations into their day-to-day work to improve the way we do things, for the benefit of patients and staff alike.”

Originally published at www.thepulse.org.au/2020/02/27/australian-first-blacktown-hospital-prescriptions-go-digital/

eMeds benefits reach far and wide

WatchList is made possible by eMeds, which eHealth NSW is implementing in partnership with Local Health Districts and Specialty Health Networks.

The state-wide roll-out of eMeds is the largest of its kind in Australia and one of the biggest in the world and its benefits to inpatients are being felt right across NSW Health.

eMeds, or electronic medication management, enhances safety and clinical quality by flagging potential medication clashes or allergies and minimising the risk of prescribing and administration errors.

eMeds is a function of the electronic medical record and provides a complete, real-time digital picture of patient medications as they are prescribed, reviewed, dispensed and administered in 195 hospitals and counting.

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