13 NHS Trusts will be the first in the UK to benefit from £78 million of funding to support a transition to electronic prescribing and medicines administration (ePMA). Electronic prescriptions can help to improve patient safety compared to handwritten prescriptions.
Electronic prescriptions offer a multitude of advantages as they save time through reducing duplication, ensure each patient has a complete electronic record and speeds up the prescription process. Furthermore, electronic prescriptions reduce potentially fatal medication errors by up to 50% in comparison to paper prescriptions.
The 13 NHS Trusts who will receive the funding consist of a range of mental health, community and acute services. Following the year pilot, there will be a full rollout from 2019 which will help to improve efficiency across all healthcare systems and services.
The use of electronic prescribing and medicines administration can ensure medics are making the most effective use of the medicines available. As well as this, electronic prescriptions provide more robust data sets which can help future management of diseases.
To ensure trusts maximise their potential of ePMA, the additional funding is being released for the implementation of ePMA within the next three years. By 2021, the trusts will need to make progress with electronic prescribing for their patients.
Andrew Davies, the Director of Hospital Pharmacy, explains; “There is evidence that electronic prescribing and medicines administration systems will improve safety for patients, reducing the risk of harm and ensuring high-quality, efficient patient care which is as safe as possible.”
The Health Minister, Stephen Hammond adds; “The introduction of electronic prescribing is not only known to reduce medication errors but also frees up time for staff by moving away from archaic paper-based systems.”
Some of the trusts to benefit from funding include Barts Health NHS Trust, Humber NHS Foundation Trust, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust.