Information technology

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Chapter: Hospital pharmacy : Community health services

The Audit Commission’s 2001 review of medicines management in hospitals set out a vision of the use of information technology (IT) in hospital pharmacy that largely remains unchanged today.


Information technology

 

The Audit Commission’s 2001 review of medicines management in hospitals set out a vision of the use of information technology (IT) in hospital pharmacy that largely remains unchanged today. It stated that:

 

New medication is agreed between members of the clinical team and ordered at the bedside through a radio-computer link to an automated dispensary, where robotic systems pick the new medicines and dispatch them to the patient’s ward via a pneumatic tube.

 

Ten years later, this vision remains a long way off for many, though in a small number of hospitals it is tantalisingly close to full implementation, yet after 10 years still not there. This chapter will examine the developments in IT as they apply to hospital pharmacy practice and how the vision set out has been modified in some areas, as the national programme for IT has evolved and pharmacy practice moved on. It will describe the main developments in IT relating to hospital pharmacy, the use of stock control systems, electronic prescribing and medicines administration and electronic patient records (EPRs).

 

The definition that is assumed for e-prescribing is that utilised by NHS Connecting for Health, namely:  

 

the utilisation of electronic systems to facilitate and enhance the communication of a prescription or medicine order, aiding the choice, administration and supply of a medicine through knowledge and decision support and providing a robust audit trail for the entire medicines use process.

 

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