There has been recent interest shown by the HSE in the consideration of the adoption of modern IT facilities both within hospital pharmacy dispensaries and on the wards in the form of prescribing software. The benefits of these systems are huge in several outcome areas.
One of the few advantages of finding yourself behind the curve of adoption of technology is that others have had the chance to test and fix what was once novel and now mainstream pieces of software. The HSE can, as a result look to a developed market and select a product that offers the best balance of features, safety, usability and value.
In other health systems the adoption of this type of technology has empowered hospital pharmacy practice and has led to increased time at the patient's bedside for clinical work. The ability to alert pharmacists to new patients, dose changes, delayed administration or supply requirements all result in the work coming to the pharmacist rather than the pharmacist hunting for work amongst the drug kardexes.
The correct adoption of technology allows for seamless connection of dispensary automation and drug storage units along with procurement to smooth logistics.
To achieve these benefits, there needs to be a realisation that the adoption of technology is only a catalyst to drive changes in processes. Simply buying the best software and hardware doesn't guarantee the best outcome. This is greatly swayed by the implementation, system administration and ongoing support for medicines management processes at ward and pharmacy level.
Pharmacists have proven that they are integral to the successful deployment of e-prescribing. However the disparity in the level of clinical pharmacy provision within HSE hospitals risks any implementation of such systems.
In order to underpin the modernisation of processes, a modernisation of the Hospital Pharmacist profession is required. Without structures that can cope with taking the lead on all aspects of medicines management, the large investment required in infrastructure will be at risk.
It is for this reason that the HPAI continues to work to ensure the implementation of the Hospital Pharmacist career structure, to ensure that Pharmacy is represented at senior levels to ensure medicines management related projects are expert led within all hospitals.