Health & Healthcare / Medico Legal & Pharmaceutical Law

Implementing eMM systems to improve patient safety, efficiency and quality of care

emm conference

The 5th Annual eMedication Management Conference will address the latest strategies for hospitals using eMM systems. The event will be held at the Swissotel in Sydney, on the 15th & 16th March 2016, and will examine implementation and integration processes using case studies from across Australia, including representation from NZ and the UK.

stephen goundrey smithStephen Goundrey-Smith is Consultant Pharmacist for SGS Pharma Solutions from the UK and will provide an international keynote address at the conference on ‘The Route to Seamless Electronic Medication Management in the UK’, describing current developments in eMM in the UK that will support data sharing and seamless healthcare.

We caught up with Stephen prior to the conference, and we hope you enjoy the interview.

  1. The potential for sharing health and information is a huge driver to implement eHealth. However, increased availability can cause concern around the potential for privacy and confidentiality breaches. What are your thoughts on how to manage this effectively?

Stephen: The information governance (IG) model is indeed crucial to interoperable eHealth, and there is no easy answer, as we have seen from the history of IG in the UK.  In essence, what is needed is a nationally agreed IG convention that achieves the right balance of safeguarding patient information, but not restricting access to information by healthcare professionals, in such a way that as many cross-institutional care pathways as possible are enabled. This will depend on infrastructure, system capability, data conventions and professional culture.

  1. When integrating systems can you provide 1-2 examples of the common risks, and 1-2 management strategies for hospitals yet to embark on their eMM journey?

Stephen: In my view, the most two common risks for hospitals implementing eMM are both change-related, rather than technology-related, and they are:

  1. Not securing clinical buy-in and developing clinical leadership for the implementation across the organisation, and,
  2. Expecting too much of a system – that it will deliver radical benefits in all clinical areas immediately.

The way to manage these risks is to:

  1. Embark on a credible programme of clinical engagement that is appropriate to the organisation’s culture, before and during implementation, and,
  2. Set priorities for change in the organisation (specific wards/ services) and manage expectations.
  1. In your opinion, what are the top 3 benefits of implementing eMM systems?

Stephen: eMM systems have the potential to improve a) patient safety, b) efficiency and quality of care and c) convenience for the patient and, ideally, for the health professional too.

  1. How has eMM changed the way pharmacists work?

Stephen: With increasing use of eMM in the UK, pharmacists are able to work more efficiently because they can customise their workflows and, with the right decision support tools, they can bring more of their clinical expertise to bear. However, because pharmacists are more likely to be working remotely from patients and prescribers, communication dynamics may be altered and may need to be carefully monitored.

  1. Do you have any tips for re-training and educating staff once electronic systems have been in place for a while?

eMMStephen: Re-training/ ongoing training is often not considered by implementing organisations, because they focus on the initial implementation and change management process. However, the same flexible modes of training (e-learning, super-users, F2F) are required, because the issue of locum/ bank staff is the same as with initial training. Re-training clearly needs to be cognisant of known system issues; also there may be benefit in linking refresher training/ updates for health professionals with a culture of continuing/ continuous professional development (CPD) as a whole.

  1. You are facilitating a post conference implementation workshop on ‘Electronic Prescribing Benefits, Research & Realisation, & Change Management’. Without giving too much away, what can delegates expect from attending the workshop?

Stephen: This session will bring attendees up to speed on some of the latest research around use of electronic prescribing in hospitals, and how implementers might respond to those findings, and also help implementers to think analytically about the implementation process, and thereby to facilitate good change management. I’ll say no more than that – you’ll need to sign up to find out more!

  1. Are there any presentations or aspects of the 2016 eMedication Management Conference that you are particularly looking forward to and why?

Stephen: There is so much great content in this year’s conference it’s hard to single out specifics. Given the importance of information governance as a foundation for high-quality eMM, Vanessa Halter’s presentation will be programmatic.

In eMM implementation, change management is as important as availability of technology, so the presentation by Erin Thompson and Shrivana Mawren from Cabrini will be significant, as will be the session on clinical leadership by Naren Gunja.

emm conference

Click to view eMM conference agenda and key speakers.

We look forward to Stephen’s keynote presentation and interactive workshop at the upcoming 5th Annual eMedication Management Conference, taking place at the Swissotel Sydney on 15th– 16th March 2016.

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