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Digital-first for NHS as Somerset integrates Better Meds ePMA solution

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Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with Better, CGI and Black Pear, has successfully integrated the Better Meds electronic prescribing and medication administration (ePMA) solution into the Somerset Integrated Digital e-Record (SIDeR) system.

The integrated digital medicines platform, which is currently undergoing live clinical validation across admission areas, will improve care continuity, safety and patient experience.

The integrated solution implements national medication Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) profiles and combines these with workflows and visualisations designed by Better, underpinned by the Better Meds product and open standards platform.

David Chalkley, Clinical Safety Officer, Associate CCIO and Associate Director of Pharmacy at Somerset FT said: “The shared medication data from care providers across the region will give patients more continuity of care.

“When a patient moves between hospitals, for example, the clinician does not need to restart their medication prescriptions, and the medications they had previously prescribed can be transferred over.

“In addition to enhancing patient safety, it will result in shorter prescription times and more time spent on patient care.”

CGI, the global IT and Business Consulting Services firm, has supported the programme to configure and implement this solution from its inception, providing the foundations to expand the integration from within the Trust to care providers across the wider region.

The solution enables the Trust to automatically populate hospital records with medication information from GP and other care provider records, such as active prescriptions.

Visualisations of the interaction and transaction data between different care settings will enable clinicians to easily interpret a patient’s medication history over time.

Secondary care clinicians can create active electronic prescriptions, with minimal transcription between information sources, resulting in improved care continuity, greater efficiency for prescribers, a reduction in errors and a direct time saving for front line care.

As part of a phased roll-out, the system is being clinically validated in a controlled manner through direct patient care. Further iterative improvements will be made before the integration is rolled out across all acute, community health and mental health services across the trust.

September also saw the launch of a Better Meds pilot within maternity services at Yeovil hospital, following the merger of Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust in April this year.

The Better Meds integration across the merged hospitals will mean greater data connectivity across the county.

The agile and user-centred approach of the Better Meds solution enabled it to be implemented seamlessly across the different Electronic Patient Record (EPR) and Patient Administration System (PAS) solutions in place across multiple care settings.

Mitja Lapajne, Better Meds Technical Lead, said: “The successful integration of Better Meds into SIDeR is a testament to the hard work of the clinicians, integration team and staff at the trust.

The integration is proof that interoperability opens the door to better care, enhanced workflow outcomes and accelerated digital maturity.”

Donna Kelly, Senior Vice President for CGI in the South and Midlands, added: “Since the initial project began in 2018, we have worked in close partnership with the team at the Trust to help them realise the benefits of e-Prescribing to improve patient care and safety.

“This integrated solution across the region, ensuring that medication data can be shared across involved health and care providers, will provide an enhanced patient and carer experience.

“We look forward to continuing our work with the Trust to extend the solution more widely across acute, community health and mental health services in the region.”

The Trust plans to expand the use of Better Meds across the remaining wards at Musgrove Park Hospital by early 2024.

By integrating with additional healthcare resources through SIDeR, and incorporating community services, this will further enhance prescription standards and operations for both staff and patients.

Integration with the Trust’s pharmacy stock control system and the national Electronic Prescription Service is expected to complete by the end of 2023.

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