This session looked at advances in pharmacy IT that are improving practice.
Mohammed Hussain, MRPharmS and EPS clinical safety assurance manager, NHS Connecting for Health pointed out how far health has fallen behind in terms of IT use, compared with the retail sector, music, banking and travel industries. And although the NHS has had a slow start, in his view EPS (the electronic prescription service) was the building block of the digital future for health and connectivity between GP practices, pharmacies and hospitals.
If the technology works, everyone will use it he emphasised, particularly when everyone understands how accuracy and safety are improved – as well as improving general communications between pharmacists and GPs.
Having said all that, as well as enthusing about the steady stream of prescriptions that are increasingly being generated electronically, Mr Hussain did acknowledge that proper pharmacist access to patients’ summary care records needed to be sorted out.
The second speaker was Jann Gardner, lead pharmacist acute services, NHS Forth Valley, who described how an IT solution had been developed to manage the challenges of optimising pharmaceutical care at key transfers – when a patient is admitted to hospital, while in hospital, at discharge and then back in the community. All stages were more joined up as a result; the quality of care was improved, and there were better communications between all sectors.This short blog cannot do justice to her description of the reconfigured pharmacy services and how they had impacted on patient care.
However, Mrs Gardner was able to tell the audience that the system had been short-listed for a 2012 award from Helath Informatics Scotland in the category Best NHS Scotland use of innovative IT for patient care. It will be awarded to the NHS Scotland team demonstrating the most innovative product in use within a clinical setting for direct patient care. The product maybe entirely new or a radical redesign of somethingexisting. That says it all!