Darent Valley Hospital, part of Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, has dramatically reduced the average time taken to dispense patient discharge medicines, the "to take away" medicines, (TTA) from four hours to 15 minutes using a new handheld mobile printing solution from Episys, a global information technology solutions and services company.
The hospital is already using the Episys Ultimate labelling system in their aseptic production unit and by introducing ward based dispensing of medicines, hospital beds have being freed up faster, the patient experience has improved and both time and money are saved.
John Richardson, Director of Pharmacy at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, said, "When the time comes for a patient to be discharged, rather than wait for the pharmacy to dispense the TTA medicines and then send them up to the ward, the ward-based pharmacy team can do this using the mobile printer. Previously the medical staff would come and see the patient on the ward, the request for medication would be sent to the pharmacy to be dispensed and then a porter would need to deliver the completed TTA up to the correct ward before the patient was able to leave. This pathway could take up to four hours. Now many TTA medicines can be dispensed by the ward based pharmacy team in around 15 minutes."
Mr Richardson continued, "Safety comes in to this as well. When a patient comes into hospital with their own medication (Patient Own Drugs, POD), these need to be correctly labelled. Previously these drugs were sometimes discarded and new drugs dispensed if the POD labelling quality was poor. Now the PODs can be relabelled on the ward and medicine wastage is reduced."
Peter Lewis, Marketing Director at Episys, said, "We are delighted that Darent Valley Hospital is enjoying the benefits our system can offer. The mobile printers could, in time, be used on every ward speeding up the time taken to dispense the TTA medicines and repatriate them with the patients. This results in freeing up beds faster.