A NEW electronic system is saving nurses in Teesside 50 hours a day.

Nurses at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust are saving thousands of hours on drug rounds, and benefit from safer ways of working, following the go-live of the TrakCare electronic prescribing and medicines administration system.

They are the first in the country to use the system.

The ePMA technology has replaced a previous paper-based approach to prescribing and administering medicines to patients – which has traditionally required nurses to spend time searching wards for patients’ medicine charts, deciphering and working from handwritten notes.

Since going live with ePMA in 2018, nurses have witnessed a substantial reduction in the average time taken to complete drug rounds – with nurses now saving on average a total of 53 hours per day on drug rounds, or 19,345 hours a year.

Under the previous paper-based system a nurse would take an average of nearly 10 minutes to administer drugs for each patient. Through ePMA, this now takes an average of a little over three minutes.

Clare Ranson, clinical matron at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s definitely reduced the amount of time nurses spend on medication rounds. The real-time record allows all those involved in care to see what’s happening – the nurses, doctors and pharmacists – not just the person holding the piece of paper."

Mandy Skilcorn, a ward matron at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Nurses have taken to ePMA very, very quickly, and it is very safe for patients. Before ePMA we had a completely paper-based medicine chart process that led to handwriting challenges, and actually being able to get hold of the chart to view and record administration information was difficult. Now, through ePMA, nurses can quickly see if anything has been missed, you can read the prescription, and you can see when drugs, like paracetamol for example, are needed, and when they were last given. Using ePMA feels a lot safer.”