The NHS in Wales has chosen to expand its use of the Ultimate labelling solution, from Episys, a global information technology solutions and services company, to a single labelling and worksheets system for its seventeen hospitals. It's Ultimate Platinum software was chosen to produce consistent medicines labelling, following substantial funding from the Welsh Government.
All Seven Health boards that operate across Wales received funding from the Welsh government to invest in updating their IT systems. As part of the funding the decision was made to focus on rolling out the Ultimate software so all label and worksheet templates are the same across all hospitals.
Alex Bosley, Specialist QA Pharmacist at Cardiff & Vale University Health Board said: "We are already using the Episys labelling system within our pharmacy department where all medicines and injections are made. All hospitals have to comply with good manufacturing practice for the dispensing of medicines, and seven hospitals additionally have licenses from the MHRA. Inspections throughout the units in Wales have highlighted problems with labels and worksheets and the fact that they were not to a high enough standard. A number of hospitals in Wales are already working with Episys including Royal Gwent, Cardiff & Vale and Neath Port Talbot, all of which are very happy with the solution and how it has transformed the way they produce labels. It was decided that this was an area we should invest in and roll out Episys Ultimate across the whole country."
Alex Bosley continued: "We are still in the process of finalising the standard template design across all hospitals, we plan to take the best aspects of existing designs from the Health Boards and come up with the final design that works for us all. This will not only benefit the patients, but the nurses and doctors as well. We like the fact the Episys system is going to be the standard across all Wales hospitals, it is a very secure system and includes password protection meaning changes can be made easily but not by error, and most importantly it complies with the MRHA standards. Roll out will very much depend on the individual Health Boards but for us we hope to roll out across our hospitals by Autumn 2012."
Derek Buchanan, Chief Executive Officer at Episys, commented: "The fact that the whole of Wales has chosen our labelling solution is a source of great pride to us but also a sign of how important it is in the health service to have accuracy, consistency, legibility of medicines labelling that is both patient- and hospital-centred."
Plans for the future include utilising 2D barcodes on all labels as well, this will complement the future drive towards electronic drug charts on the wards utilising barcode technology. Patients could see barcodes on the wrist bands that match up with drugs given when the barcode is scanned by the nurse, this is another example of how patient safety will be increased in the future.