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Tuesday 24th April 2018

GOS first to roll out EPMA

28th October 2009

London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust (GOSH) has become the first specialist paediatric hospital in the UK to complete a Trust-wide roll out of the Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration (EPMA) system provided by medicines management specialist JAC. The system is currently live on all inpatient wards apart from the Intensive Care Units.  

The main objective from the implementation of the EPMA system continues to be to improve patient safety by reducing the incidence and severity of prescribing and administration errors and the level of risk associated with manual systems i.e. paper. Published research (i) performed as part of the project describes an ‘overall reduction in prescribing errors directly as a result of more complete and legible prescriptions after EP’.

The system further supports patient safety by incorporating the Multilex Drug Data File from First DataBank Europe. This data provides the system’s clinical users with patient-specific clinical decision support to actively check for drug-drug interactions, duplicate therapies and drug allergies.  Further benefits are expected following the future implementation of additional decision support functionality such as dose checking.

JAC’s long term collaboration with GOSH ensures that the system continues to deliver the functionality required in a paediatric hospital with clinicians using handheld wireless devices to access the system. 

Christine Booth, a senior pharmacist at GOSH, comments, “The paper-based prescribing process has many points of weakness which an electronic medication record can instantly address such as illegible handwriting or missing patient/drug information both of which can have serious consequences. Implementation of JAC’s EPMA system has already shown to deliver early benefits in medication safety.  However, there is scope for future benefits as the software develops to support complex prescribing and administration.”

EPMA has also offered the opportunity to maximise the responsiveness of the service provided by the pharmacy department with electronic transmission of newly prescribed drug items and discharge prescriptions to the dispensary for dispensing.

Dr. Stephen Marks, a consultant paediatric nephrologist at GOSH, who is the medical lead for this project, explains, “Before we started using EPMA, it was common place for nurses to call colleagues after their shift to double check if elements of a complex medication schedule had been administered to a patient. This problem has been completely resolved by the introduction of EPMA. 

Since migrating to electronic prescribing and medicines administration, clinical staff have become empowered and are now able to view legible patient records, with no confusion or misinterpretation. This undoubtedly streamlines the entire process and supports staff to help them make the right decisions for patients.”

Robert Tysall-Blay, JAC’s Chief Executive, adds, “This is a major milestone in the collaboration between JAC and GOSH. The prescribing and administration of medicines for children is often complex and the effort, involvement and lessons learnt from developing and implementing software to replace manual systems should not go unrecognised.

Congratulations to both the GOSH and JAC teams on this major achievement. Work continues to further enhance the system and we look forward to a continued collaboration with Great Ormond Street Hospital.”

Darren Nichols, Managing Director, First DataBank Europe comments “FDBE is committed to improving patient safety by reducing the occurrence of medication errors. It is a significant achievement to be supporting clinicians at Great Ormond Street Hospital in this specialist area of prescribing.”


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