NZ expands MedChart roll out

Funding has been secured to roll out iSOFT's MedChart medications management system to more beds at Dunedin Hospital in New Zealand.

The hospital conducted a trial of MedChart in late 2010 under the auspices of the NZ National eMedicines Program.

The new funding will extend the roll out of the software to a further 120 beds at Dunedin Hospital, with plans to roll it out across Southern District Health Board (SDHB).

It is part of NZ's plan to have all public hospitals in the country participating in the national electronic medication management (eMM) program this year.

The plan has necessitated a change to legislation governing medications in NZ, with a new bill introduced to Parliament in late February to amend the Medicines Act 1981, which required a hand-written signature on all prescriptions.

The new legislation will take into account electronic signatures, as well as extending restricted prescribing status to nurse practitioners and optometrists, similar to that covering doctors, veterinarians and midwives.

iSOFT, which will be known as CSC from next week, has also announced that a fourth National Health Service (NHS) trust in the UK has signed up to MedChart, known in the UK as ePMA.

Harrowgate NHS Trust joins Pennine Acute, Stockport and Leicester NHS trusts to install the system.

The 367-bed trust is ready to go live for clinical use after being integrated with the trust’s existing IT infrastructure, including patient administration system (PAS), laboratory and eDischarge systems.

An iSOFT spokesperson said eMM is gathering momentum in the UK, with hospitals increasingly seeing ePrescribing as an essential tool.

“The trend is likely to continue with a growing body of evidence indicating the effectiveness of electronic medication management,” the spokesperson said.

“One such example is new research from Professor Johanna Westbrook of the University of New South Wales. The researchers found significant decreases in medication error when ePrescribing systems were used.

“iSOFT’s MedChart was one of two solutions evaluated during the study. Wards using MedChart experienced a 57.5 per cent reduction in prescribing errors, harmful errors were reduced by an impressive 44 per cent.”

iSOFT's APAC managing director, James Rice, said research suggests that electronic medication management is the most, possibly the only, effective intervention to reduce medication error.

“This is heartening news,” Mr Rice said. “We’ve known for a long time that medication error is one of the greatest causes of harm, waste and cost.

“Now we also know that electronic medication management solutions can significantly improve medication safety for better and less expensive care.”

In Australia, MedChart has been used at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney since 2004, with Macquarie University Hospital implementing it in 2010 and the Little Company of Mary Health Care (LCM) group installing it at Melbourne's Calvary Healthcare Bethlehem in November last year.

Posted in New Zealand eHealth

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