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Digital improvements to prescribing at Cardiff and Vale UHB

March 22 2024

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has reached a significant milestone in introducing a new clinical digital system for improving the prescribing and administering of medication across its sites.

The roll out of the Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration (ePMA) system across hospital sites in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan has moved a step closer with the Health Board selecting Nervecentre as the preferred contractor to deliver the system.

ePMA is a key part of the Digital Medicines Transformation Portfolio (DMTP), overseen by Digital Health and Care Wales (DHCW) which aims to make the prescribing, dispensing and administration of medicines everywhere in Wales easier, safer, more efficient and effective, for both patients and clinicians.

The new ePMA system will replace paper drug charts which are currently kept at patient bedsides and will enable safer prescribing and administration of medicines. The system will enable allergy and drug interaction checking, reducing the likelihood of medication errors, and will improve day to day working practices to benefit staff and patient care, as the process will be safer, easier and more efficient.

Professor Meriel Jenney, Executive Medical Director at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said “The roll out of ePMA is an important and significant change for staff across our inpatient sites, including outpatient services as it will improve the efficiency and safety of prescribing.

“Patient care and experience is a key priority for the Health Board and this new system will speed up the issuing of in-hospital and outpatient prescriptions and medications, prompt nursing staff when doses are due, and allow prescribing from remote terminals as well as at the bedside.

“The Health Board is committed to digital transformation which will make a difference to the way we provide and deliver care so it is good to see ePMA now taking shape within the organisation.  This will make a real difference to the patient journey and colleagues’ workloads.”

ePMA is part of the Digital Medicines Transformation Portfolio announced by the Minister for Health and Social Services in September 2021 with DHCW having oversight of the transformation programme in Wales.

DHCW Senior Responsible Owner for Secondary care ePMA, Dr Lesley Jones said: “This is an exciting time for Secondary Care ePMA in Wales. Cardiff and Vale UHB is the first health board in Wales to announce their preferred supplier and is set to transform patient safety with electronic prescribing in all hospitals within Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. It’s a momentous time, not only for the whole DMTP team, but for all patients and healthcare staff set to benefit.

“It’s another step towards all hospitals in Wales moving to this transformative digital system and we look forward to all health boards and trusts announcing their preferred supplier in the near future.”

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Wales, Andrew Evans said: “This marks the start of an exciting journey to transform the way medicines are prescribed and administered in every hospital in Wales. Digital technology is changing the way health services in Wales are provided, improving efficiency, freeing up clinicians time to provide patient care, and supporting improvements in health outcomes for people who need support from the NHS.

“The considerable investment the Welsh Government is making in electronic prescribing will support Cardiff and Vale and other health boards’ efforts to ensure the prescribing and administration of medicines is efficient, effective and safe, contributing to an NHS that is fit today and for the future.”

Training and development of the new ePMA system will be rolled out in Cardiff and Vale UHB over the coming months, and will be delivered by a multi-disciplinary team who have been creating a system that works for all staff and alongside the digital systems already in use. Colleagues will be supported both online and in person as the project progresses and we anticipate the first wards coming online in December 2024.