Medications Go Electronic at PDH

Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Portland District Health has embraced Electronic Medication Management (EMM) with the launch of the new module in TrakCare on Tuesday, 10 December. By recording the prescribing and administering of medications in our electronic system, we further minimise the chance of medication errors occurring for our inpatients.

EMM reduces medication errors through removing the need to interpret handwriting and interactions between patient allergies and medications being prescribed are highlighted. These require our doctors to actively interpret and assess any potential interactions, again, improving our quality of care. Administration of medications has a time recorded with them and it is easy to visually assess whether any medications have been missed for any reason, usually because a patient may be unavailable or unwell at the time of the medication round.

Implementing an EMM system within Portland District Health is a major transformational project that substantially affects clinical service delivery, hospital departments and the work of clinicians. We undertook extensive pre-implementation planning and the project had the endorsement and full support of the hospital executive and senior clinical staff. We provided training for all clinical staff with the opportunity to attend multiple sessions by choice. This resulted in a calm launch on Tuesday with our nursing team adapting to the new system well. We provided support on the day with people from SWARH, Clinical Education, Pharmacy and the Health Information Service.

Portland District Health is the first hospital within the SWARH network to implement EMM. It is also notable as we are now the first public health service in Australia to implement EMM within our existing clinical and patient management system. Others have separate systems that transfer data to and from their clinical systems. The benefit we can realise (that others cannot) is patient allergy information is available at the time of prescribing and alerts are built in to highlight any possible interactions.

We have been invited to present about our achievement at the upcoming 3rd Annual Electronic Medication Management Conference to be held in Sydney at the end of March 2014.(  We also hope to present at the Health Information Management Association of Australia’s (HIMAA) 2014 conference later next year.

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