E-prescribing solution reduces drug errors at Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability

New system dramatically decreases incidence of human medication management errors from six to one

The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability has rolled out an e-Prescribing solution in an effort to reduce medication management errors and improve efficiency

The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability (RHN) has successfully reduced prescription errors by 83%, from six incidents in April 2018 down to one during April 2019 following the introduction of PatientSource’s e-prescribing technology on four of its wards.

The investment is the first step for the RHN in realising its goal of moving from paper-based systems to a full electronic patient record across the whole hospital.

RHN, which is based in Putney, south-west London, is a 220-bed hospital and independent medical charity that provides rehabilitation and long-term care to people with complex neurological disabilities caused by damage to the brain or other parts of the nervous system.

Michael Marrinan, the hospital’s medical director, said: “We were behind the curve. We are a charitable organisation, we are not in the NHS, and that has left us in an unusual position in that we don’t have an EPR - we are in a naive position from a technology point of view.”

He added: “Our patients have complex needs and many are on significantly more medications than your average hospital patient. Our staff have between 30-40,000 drug interactions a month and, while our incidence of drug errors was very low, any incident is one too many.”

PatientSource was founded as a direct result of the errors that I was seeing as a practising doctor that were caused by paper-based processes and so it is great that another organisation is now able to provide safer and more-efficient care as a result of our technology

A nurse prepares for the drug round using a tablet computer with PatientSource's e-prescribing module

RHN selected PatientSource’s e-prescribing solution to replace card drug charts, offering the hospital the benefit of increasing patient safety through its automatic prescription checks alerts.

This includes checking all prescribed drugs against known patient allergies, checking for drug-drug interactions and checking for the appropriate dose, route and frequency of administration.

Toby Roberts, associate sirector of information and technology at RHN, said: “PatientSource was a less-risky option than procuring a big-name solution and it didn’t require any extra specialist hardware or apps - all it requires is a web browser, which means that it also doesn’t add to our existing resource costs.

“We could also see that regardless of the cost this was the leading system, so the decision to choose PatientSource was a moral one.”

PatientSource took just three months to implement the system within the hospital, which included tailoring the functionality to meet the specific needs of RHN, including a bespoke integration to the organisation’s Patient Administration System.

In the first month since its introduction, the hospital has seen just one incident of medication management related to human error compared to six in the same period the year before – an 83% reduction.

Marrinan said: “We are lucky that we have a culture of incident reporting - which we encourage because we need to learn from our mistakes.

“Our patients sometimes can’t speak for themselves so we have to speak up for them. Our aim is to have a high level of reporting, but a low level of incidents; and PatientSource is helping us to achieve this.”

We believe the rapid uptake and user satisfaction is testament to our central tenant of making complex healthcare simple and our electronic versions of forms and charts directly mimicking their paper predecessors, rather than introducing complicated, new workflows

Speaking about the implementation of the e-prescribing solution, Dr Michael Brooks, chief medical officer and co-founder of PatientSource, said: “The transition from paper-based charting to e-prescribing has gone incredibly smoothly for RHN and it’s rewarding that the partnership is already producing positive results.

“We believe the rapid uptake and user satisfaction is testament to our central tenant of making complex healthcare simple and our electronic versions of forms and charts directly mimicking their paper predecessors, rather than introducing complicated, new workflows.

“PatientSource was founded as a direct result of the errors that I was seeing as a practising doctor that were caused by paper-based processes and so it is great that another organisation is now able to provide safer and more-efficient care as a result of our technology.”

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