Aims To introduce successfully electronic prescribing in a hospice.
Background The hospice previously used paper drug cards to prescribe and record administration of medication. Our drugs for inpatient administration and for discharge prescriptions were supplied by a hospital four miles away. We had weekly inpatient support from a pharmacist one session a week and a pharmacy technician to reconcile medication against the patients’ previous GP prescription and to check there were no prescribing errors. All requests for drugs had to be faxed along with the prescription card.
Method In February 2016 we introduced electronic prescribing to increase patient safety, reduce administration errors, increase efficiency in obtaining discharge prescriptions and reduce the time spent by nursing staff in ordering drugs. The nursing and medical staff received e-learning in order to become familiar with the prescribing and administration of medications. Four electronic carts were purchased at a cost of £4000 each. The pharmacist supported the implementation of the system undertaking drug rounds with nursing staff for two weeks. Nursing and medical staff who had previously worked in the hospital were already familiar with its use. The system is networked to the hospital so has the additional benefit of all prescriptions being visibly accessible by the hospital pharmacists.
Some challenges have been encountered particularly with regards to internet connectivity and the recent cyber attack but the system is backed up daily and we can resort to paper printouts of the electronic prescription.
Results Results have shown a reduction in missed administration of drugs, a reduction in drug errors, both in prescribing and administration, increased speed of response for discharge prescriptions and a cost reduction in the pharmacy budget to the hospice.
Conclusion Electronic prescribing is a safe and efficient method for the prescribing and administration of drugs within an independent hospice.
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