Medicines are the most common medical interventions used in the health service with an annual expenditure in Northern Ireland of over £550 million. However evidence has demonstrated that there is significant variance in best practice relating to the appropriate safe and effective use of medicines, with many people not taking their medicines as prescribed with resultant sub-optimal health outcomes.
To address the issue of sub-optimal medicines use, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) produced the guideline ‘NICE Guideline NG5 Medicines optimisation: the safe and effective use of medicines to enable the best possible outcomes
Clinical pharmacy skills in the NHS are currently in high demand and pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are a critical component of patient care. As part of the medicines optimisation strategy there is a key focus in ensuring that pharmacy staff are present at all parts of the patient journey in secondary care
The knowledge and skills of the pharmacist are central to optimising medicines use to create better outcomes for patients, better value for the taxpayer and more headroom to introduce new treatments
The key challenge of this project was to develop a system that enabled hospital pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to spend more time patient facing and ensuring the right level of expertise is present with the right patient at the right time. From medicines reconciliation on admission through to medications review at discharge, our objective was to ensure the patient journey was clearly mapped and that pharmacy staff were able to ensure optimal patient care.
Analytics Engines developed a fully functional system for pharmacy staff deployment and management. We utilised our core data platform to develop a patient centric product focused on optimising pharmacy staff deployment. The focus of this project has been to increase staff productivity and reduce hospital readmissions due to medicines related issues. The system we have developed is simple and intuitive and is designed to require minimal input and expertise in the end user
Our solution was developed in close collaboration with the Western Trust Pharmacy team to develop a product that was guided by pharmacists for pharmacists.
The transparency created by the system enables the team to better appreciate the demands outside of their own responsibility. Better visibility of workloads across teams is possible enabling staff with lower workloads to assist colleagues with higher workloads in a reactive manner. This empowers staff to self-manage in order to improve overall efficiency by being proactive in assisting in areas of greatest need. However from a management perspective, this enables better resource allocation in reassigning staff to busier wards.
The system we have developed has been designed to be reliable and easy to access and use by all pharmacy staff. It is built to meet the needs of the pharmacy service today, but has been specifically designed to be adaptable and flexible to change and evolve as the service evolves and changes. The system has been designed to be portable and adaptable and not dependent on any specific IT system or platform.
This system is now being clinically field trialed in Northern Ireland and will see a full commercial product release in 2018.