Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Fife to bring in £3.9m electronic prescribing regime after study says 99% of written slips have errors

Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy.
Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy.

A £3.9 million electronic prescribing system is to be introduced at Fife hospitals after a study suggested 99% of written prescription slips contained errors.

NHS Fife is one of the last health boards in Scotland to introduce the Hospital Electronic Prescribing Medicines Administration (HEPMA) system, which health bosses said was vital to ensuring safe dispensing of drugs.

According to a study conducted across NHS Ayrshire and Arran, the system has the potential to reduce prescribing errors at discharge from hospital from 99% to 23%.

Prescriptions written out for a sample group of 159 patients before HEPMA was introduced in Ayrshire and Arran included mistakes relating to lack of information about allergies, omission of medicines and incorrect doses, frequencies and durations of treatment in 158 cases.

When the process was repeated after HEPMA was brought in, the number of patients, out of another sample group of 159, with wrong prescriptions fell to 37.

The research, carried out in partnership with Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University and published in June 2017, said HEPMA was “not a panacea for prescribing errors” but significantly reduced both the rate and severity of mistakes.

At a recent NHS Fife board meeting, NHS Fife Director of Pharmacy Scott Garden said the 99% figure was “alarming.”

However, he said the prescribing errors picked up by the study “may not have resulted in any harm whatsoever”.

He described the introduction of the HEPMA system as a “transformational project in terms of quality and safety of care.”

Medical director Dr Chris McKenna said: “This is a really important development for Fife as a whole.

“This is a major patient safety initiative which allows doctors and other prescribers to prescribe medicines electronically. This is a major piece of work and is a Scotland wide initiative.

“This is a huge piece of work, which will require lots and lots of training.”

Implementing the system will come at a cost. NHS Fife is expected to contribute £2.5m to the project, with the Scottish Government providing £1.4m.

There will also be recurring costs of in the region of £500,000 a year.

A report prepared for NHS Fife board suggested cost pressures could be eased by collaboration with other health boards.

“The recurring revenue identifies the additional recurring requirement for system support and pharmacy staff. Cash releasing benefits are anticipated but have not been assumed, given the lack of an evidence base nationally,” said the report.

In addition to reducing errors associated with handwritten prescriptions, it is anticipated the system will result in the time spent on ward drug rounds being halved.

The NHS Fife report said: “HEPMA is also a key missing component of an electronic health record and if not adopted NHS Fife will fall behind other health systems in relation to digital maturity, public health intelligence and medicine related research.

“In addition, HEPMA has been successfully implemented in a number of other health boards in Scotland and non implementation within NHS Fife would result in an inequality of service delivery for service users within the health board area.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in