THE ROYAL Cornwall Hospitals Trust has become the first in the South West to introduce an electronic system for prescribing and recording the administration of inpatients' medications.
The Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration (EPMA) project was launched on the children's wards at Treliske in December and a roll out programme across all three of the Trust's sites has begun.
Pharmacist Ian Nicholls, who is leading the project, said: "The introduction of e-prescribing has taken the trust one step closer to having full electronic records.
"It's a very efficient way of doing things and provides a safe and accurate way to prescribe medicines. Patient safety is the most important aspect and this system allows for greater accountability. It can also help to speed up discharge prescriptions, meaning patients are able to leave promptly when discharged and helps reduce missed doses of medications."
The current system involves a paper drug chart for each patient. With EPMA, charts are available on computer with doctors able to log in from any computer in the trust to prescribe and review medications. Small mobile devices are also being provided to wards.
Maia O'Neill, electronic prescribing nurse facilitator, said: "Patient safety is the most important factor and by having the prescription log for each patient on computer, staff can be sure that what they are seeing is the most accurate up-to-date information available as the system is in real time.
"The system also reports who has prescribed, what they prescribed, and when it was given, thereby reducing the chances of someone missing a dose. This is obviously good news for patients but it also means staff can feel confident in what they are giving. And of course, there will be no more illegible and unsigned prescriptions."
The Paediatric wards at the hospital have been the first to get to grips with the system but it is now being launched at St Michael's Hospital in Hayle and West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance. The project will then be fully implemented across all wards at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.