STRUCTURE: West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance has introduced a new electronic system for prescribing and recording the administration of inpatients’ medications.

The system is part of a planned roll out across the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, the first trust in the South West to implement such a system.

Pharmacist Ian Nicholls, who is leading the Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration (EPMA)  project, said: “The introduction of e-prescribing has taken the trust one step closer to having full electronic records.

“It’s a very efficient way of doing things and provides a safe and accurate way to prescribe medicines. Patient safety is the most important aspect and this system allows for greater accountability. It can also help to speed up discharge prescriptions, meaning patients are able to leave promptly when discharged and helps reduce missed doses of medications.”

The current system involves a paper drug chart for each patient. With EPMA, charts are available on computer with doctors able to log in from any computer in the trust to prescribe and review medications. Small mobile devices are also being provided to wards.