New pathway improves communications and safety for medications


Patients being discharged from hospital care are set to benefit from a new system that enables and speeds up communication with community pharmacists, improving patient safety.

Eastern Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) is rolling out a new electronic medication optimisation pathway (EMOP) for the east of England, to ensure patients get the most from their medicines and remain in a better state of health, with support from their community pharmacist.

They are launching the programme to offer support for pharmacists in Essex today, delivered with the PharmOutcomes online pharmacy service system developed by Pinnacle Health Partners. EMOP will focus on improving communication and care for patients who may be at risk from medication changes following hospital admission and discharge. All patients referred will have to give consent to share their data through the system.

Using PharmOutcomes for efficient transfer of information, EMOP allows hospital teams to communicate safely and securely with community pharmacist colleagues, sending encrypted data to manage medication issues, continuity of supply and flag up anything that needs to be followed up. The integrated system saves time for hospital teams through swift electronic communications, delivered securely to community pharmacy colleagues with instant confirmation and alerts.

Mark Dines-Allen, Programme Manager at Eastern AHSN said: “This programme offers a number of benefits to the local NHS, through improving support for patients once they leave hospital, we hope to see a reduction in the number of hospital readmissions due to medication issues. We are also able to utilise the skills and experience of community pharmacists to support patients closer to home and deliver savings for the NHS through reducing waste prescribing.

Research suggests that if all of the acute trusts in the east of England adopted the system, it's estimated that we could save 1,700 readmissions annually and 44,400 bed days for the region, freeing up health and care resources, while providing a better service for our patients.”

Working with Eastern AHSN and the Essex Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC), Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is the first acute provider in the region to use the PharmOutcomes system to support the new pathway for efficient and accurate transfer of medicines information to community pharmacy.

Southend Hospital will be closely followed by Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the coming weeks with Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust going live later this year.  This will make them the first Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) in the region to adopt EMOP.

Evelyn Allen, Chief Pharmacist for the MSB Group (Mid Essex, Southend and Basildon Hospitals) said: “As the first trusts in the region to implement the system, we are using PharmOutcomes to send medicines information to community pharmacy to support patients discharged from hospital. In the longer term, it could free up bed space by reducing re admissions due to medicines related issues. At a time when the NHS faces unprecedented pressure this system will support smooth care discharge pathways for patients, reducing the likelihood of readmissions and make prescribing processes more efficient for health professionals.”

Karen Samuel-Smith, Contractor Development Manager at Essex Local Pharmaceutical Committee said: “EMOP offers local community pharmacists an opportunity to use their clinical skills and increase their support for patient care. The new system should enable community pharmacies to plan their workload better and avoid duplication, with speedy and accurate information shared when patients are discharged from hospital.”

AHSNs are working to improve medication safety through innovation, and PharmOutcomes has supported improved working and efficiency savings for hospital and community pharmacists across the country. Eastern AHSN is now ensuring healthcare systems in the east of England realise the benefits, working with LPCs and STPs. EMOP in the eastern region supports the national drive to reduce patient safety incidents caused by medication communication issues, when care is discharged from hospital. Over the next 18 months Eastern AHSN will be supporting all STPs within the region with hospitals looking to implement PharmOutcomes.

More information on Eastern AHSN’s EMOP programme.

Eastern AHSN has provided funding for some first year licences, training resources and guides to support EMOP, and patients can find out more about managing their medications with the help of MO, in a short film developed by Wessex AHSN.



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