Pharmacists hail patients’ paperless win
ALEADING pharmacy organisation expects to be able to double its patient load next year with the help of Australia’s first mobile paperless patient record system.
Based in South Australia, HPS Pharmacies supplies medications to hospitals, aged care and correctional service facilities. Now, using a hand-held PDA as a platform, HPS Pharmacies is introducing the Clinpod program for its 100 clinical pharmacists around the country, allowing them to access and edit patient records.
Bruce Heal, the managing partner of HPS Pharmacies, says that the technology, which was 12 months in development, was expected to lead to a sharp rise in productivity.
‘‘ We anticipate we will be able to see another 500,000 patients next year, doubling the capacity of our clinical pharmacists because of this program,’’ he says.
Heal says one of the primary beneficiaries of the new system will be Department of Veteran’s Affairs patients, who are covered by his company.
‘‘ We believe every DVA patient in hospital will be seen without fail,’’ he says, adding that the amount of paperwork required to process such patients had previously meant that not everyone could be seen by the pharmacists.
The system is being introduced this month to hospitals in South Australia, and should be rolled out in the eastern states by March.
The first hospital to receive the system is Memorial Hospital in Adelaide.
Clinical pharmacist Kirsten Boyce — who helped develop the Clinpod system — says it will be a boon for hospital-based pharmacists.
She says some pharmacists had to spend hours a day ‘‘ double handling’’ data — taking written notes in hospital and then typing up information back in the office and recording it.
The new system allows pharmacists to do their rounds seeing patients and updating records electronically using a ‘‘ tick box’’ pathway to search, review and edit patient records. The PDAs are also linked to programs such as E-MIMS and the Australian Medical Handbook, meaning pharmacists can check drugs and their interactions. This is expected to help pharmacists avoid wrong advice or dosages for patients.
‘‘ Previously the hard copy (of the handbook) sat in a pharmacy office which might be two or three floors away. Some pharmacists would choose to carry it with them, but it is quite cumbersome,’’ Boyce says.
She says the system will be particularly effective for older patients, who may have to use multiple medications. ‘‘ Some patients have up to 13 or 14 medications, with multiple conditions. You have to have serious memory (ability as a pharmacist), but you are also very much reliant on your resources.’’
HPS Pharmacies deals mostly with private hospitals and aged care facilities, but Heal sees no reason why there could not be an expansion into the public system. ‘‘ If public hospitals want to use the system, that would be great,’’ he says. ‘‘ For the first 12 months we will be consolidating the Clinpod (in existing areas). But after a year or so there is nothing to stop us trying to onsell to others.’’
Double check: Clinical pharmacist Kirsten Boyce uses a PDA to verify medications against patient records