Digital Prescribing Supports Patient Safety and Staff Resilience

Case Study - HEPMA

The Hospital Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration (HEPMA) supports the accurate electronic prescribing and administration of medicines in hospital.

The HEPMA functionality specifically supports and enables staff to provide more accurate and legible prescriptions through reduced transcription errors. It also reduces the risk of missing or late doses of medicines, and adverse drug events and allergic reactions.

These secondary care systems have progressively been implemented across the country in recent years. Local instances of HEPMA have been successfully rolled out in seven Health Boards (NHS Ayrshire and Arran, NHS Dumfries and Galloway, NHS Forth Valley, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Lanarkshire, NHS Lothian and the State Hospital).

This move from paper to digital supports increased efficiency, patient safety, climate change and our ambition set out in the 2021 Digital Health and Care Strategy to make the right information available to all appropriate staff, when and where it is needed.

The North of Scotland (NOS) has now gone one step further. The NOS has successfully implemented a six Board (NHS Grampian, NHS Highland, NHS Orkney, NHS Shetland, NHS Tayside and NHS Western Isles) collaborative solution which is a first for the supplier, and a significant step forward in our aims to improve interoperability and Information Governance.

The web-based application is accessible to medical professionals from any device and anywhere that is connected to the secure NHS network. The NOS HEPMA, coupled with their single Pharmacy Stock Control system, allows flexibility for healthcare professionals, a more robust system due to its cloud-based platform, and above all, enhanced patient safety through reduction of prescribing errors across all six Health Boards.

Given the challenging economic climate, it is essential that we focus on working together to make the best use of digital, data and innovative technology to drive improvements in the delivery of care. David Pfleger, Director of Pharmacy at NHS Grampian and SRO for HEPMA implementation in the NOS, explains that the shared approach delivered an efficient and robust project delivery.

‘We identified that joint implementation across our six Health Boards would deliver improved resilience and encourage shared learning. Collaboration and clinical engagement across the region would improve resources and capacity and encourage the standardisation of practice through a single digital solution.’

The implementation of HEPMA has led to improved medicines reporting and a reduction in prescribing transcription across the NOS. There is also increased clinical decision support, for example for allergy and medicines interaction checking as well as informatics and reporting improvements.

Hosting systems such as HEPMA on a Cloud based infrastructure and the roll out of Microsoft 365 enables this type of collaborative working to be possible and support our “once for Scotland” approach.