Effectively managing medicines, so that patients receive the correct medicine at the correct time, can not only help them return to good health more quickly, reducing the time spent in hospital, but can also prevent unnecessary hospital admissions. This was the focus of a recent Northern Health and Social Care Trust two-day international Conference, titled Quality + Safety = Improvement + Efficiency.
The trust’s Integrated Medicines Management (IMM) model, which considers all aspects of medicines use, is seen as a world leader. It has been developed, enhanced and extended over the last 10 years and adopted in other trusts not only in the United Kingdom but also in the South of Ireland, Sweden and the Netherlands.
The conference was an exciting opportunity for leading figures in medicines management from throughout the world to share research and best practice and consider how they will implement new ideas in their own settings to improve care and efficiency. The keynote speaker was Frank Federicoc an executive director of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Boston, USA.
The Northern Trust’s Medicine Management model has been shown to significantly improve the appropriateness of medicines use – making sure patients get the medication they need when they need it and also don’t continue to take medications they no longer require. As a result, a safer service is provided which should help patients recover more quickly, reducing the length of hospital stays and the likelihood of needing to be readmitted. This supports the principles of the current Transforming Your Care consultation by helping patients remain at home as long as possible.
The Northern Trust’s Medicines Management systems also make sure that the most appropriate member of the healthcare team, often the pharmacist, considers medicines management issues.
Many of the developments considered at the conference involve the use of new technology and the Northern Trust has been involved in creating several new systems. New bedside lockers for medications, which are used instead of the traditional medicine trolley, have improved the safe delivery of medicines on wards and made medication more readily available when needed. New software systems have also been developed that allow pharmacists to record and monitor how they improve patient care.
Prof Mike Scott, head of pharmacy and medicines management in the Northern Trust, said: “The conference gave a great opportunity, not only to demonstrate the work that has been undertaken with respect to both medicines management and associated technology within the Northern Trust, but also to learn from international experience in this area and so lead to further developments which will help us provide the best service to our patients and clients.”