IT Brief NZ - Pharmacy upgrades to regional electronic system

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Pharmacy upgrades to regional electronic system

Waikato Hospital Pharmacy has joined the Midland Regional ePharmacy solution following five years of planning, the Waikato District Health Board announced on Friday.

The ePharmacy solution allows pharmacists to see the dispensing history of patients from around the region while streamlining workflows and inventory management within Waikato Hospital Pharmacy itself. It will also make it easier to identify possible interactions and allergy alerts for medicines.

Pharmacy manager Jan Goddard says, “We are the first tertiary hospital to go on to a regional electronic system, and the complexity of the hospital and pharmacy service here made it a big challenge.”

Group manager Clinical Support Melinda Ch’ng stated that the success of the go-live was due to the significant effort put in by Goddard and her team, the vendor, the IT team, and other district health boards involved.

“The teams worked extremely hard completing testing, local configuration and end user training for months, on top of the usual clinical work. These types of projects test the resilience of services and as always Pharmacy has come through.”

Goddard says the feedback from the regional project team and the software company was that the Pharmacy staff were ‘top notch’ – well-trained and well-skilled. “There were no dramas, they just got on and did it, which meant implementation was extremely busy but smooth,” she says.

The project is run by Healthshare, the regional collaborative services organisation that coordinates programmes and initiatives in the Midland health region. The region includes Waikato, Bay Of Plenty, Lakes, Tairawhiti and Taranaki district health boards.

“The ePharmacy project is joining us up as a regional team and that will help gain pharmaceutical standardisation across the Midland health region over time,” says Goddard. “To date Lakes, Tairawhiti and now Waikato DHBs are on the system. Bay Of Plenty DHB is planned to go-live this weekend and Taranaki a few weeks later.”

The ePharmacy system replaces the old Galen pharmacy computer system used at Waikato Hospital and will allow the pharmacy service to be run more efficiently and productively, Goddard explains, with better information on the use of pharmaceuticals at Waikato DHB.

The project has involved close collaboration among information services, financial and pharmacy teams across the five very different DHBs and seven hospitals within the Midland region.

The end result is a system that can work for a large complex hospital like Waikato, or a smaller hospital like Taupo. Data from national pharmaceutical and medicine information will be regularly updated across all users of the ePharmacy system.

The Midland ePharmacy system is one of five regional ‘hubs’ for implementing an ePharmacy system nationwide.

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