Goodbye to old-fashioned drugs round
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has adopted a new pharmacy system designed to put patients in charge of their medication and to improve their health outcomes.
Speedy access to the right medication is essential to patients staying in hospital, but also to those who are going home. And in order to improve its service to patients, the hospital's pharmacy has introduced a service that does away with the traditional ward drugs round and provides a much more individual service.
In a system called One Stop Dispensing, patients are supplied with individual drug lockers where they store their own medication and any drugs prescribed to them as part of their treatment. It means pharmacists have the patient's pre-hospital medication readily available on the wards, and allows them to take a detailed medication history and identify any medicine-related problems.
The other major benefit of One Stop Dispensing is that it reduces the problems around missed medication. On discharge, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians make sure patients have an adequate supply of medication (enough for at least two weeks in most cases) and patients’ own medication is returned to them, if appropriate, reducing unnecessary drug supplies and wastage.
“For our pharmacists, this system has been really satisfying because it’s allowed them to get out to the wards to spend time with patients. That side of it has been incredibly rewarding and we know our patients have really appreciated the help and the fact that they are far more in control of their medication”, said Chief Pharmacist, Carol Farrow.
Teamwork has been the key to One Stop Dispensing, as pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and nursing staff work together with patients to deliver an improved service. The system was piloted successfully last year and has been rolled out across the hospital.
Hi-tech changes are also being planned for the hospital's Pharmacy department, which dispenses and manufactures drugs, with plans for a “robotic” medicines auto-dispenser that will replace the manual dispensing of medicines.
An Automated Dispensing System is faster and more accurate than manual dispensing and frees up pharmacists to spend more time with patients focusing on their care. Board approval for such a system at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has been granted and it will cost around £750,000.