Swansea Bay University Health Board on the benefits of Welsh Nursing Care Record, EPMA and Signal

Swansea Bay University Health Board has reported on the outcomes of the Welsh Nursing Care Record (WNCR) and Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration (EPMA) being rolled out across the area, sharing how they are “saving time and improving efficiency, bolstering patient safety and quality of care, and saving money for Health Boards”.

Due to reducing the need to re-write lost, missing or full medication charts, the Health Board reports a saving of 2,000 hours of prescriber time at Neath Port Talbot, with a further 3,600 hours at Singleton Hospital. In addition, Neath Port Talbot has saved 10 minutes per nurse, per ward, by reducing the time required for individual drug rounds, with six minutes saved at Singleton. Singleton reports a saving of 5,600 hours per year by preventing nurses from having to search for medication charts, whilst Neath Port Talbot shares a saving of 3,300 hours per year. In addition, both report “significantly reduced errors associated with medicine prescribing and administration.”

Swansea Bay University Health Board has also developed its own electronic system for patient flow called Signal, which “keeps a digital eye on patients from their admission to hospital, to their discharge”. The system is currently used across Swansea Bay to help ensure that all members of the team involved in patient care have the information they need in real time, as well as providing hospital management with an overview of activity across all clinical areas to understand capacity and potential support requirements. Other Health Boards in Wales are said to be interested in adopting Signal.

Eluned Morgan, Health Minister, said: “The benefits of the new digital systems we are funding are clear to see. They are streamlining administrative processes for healthcare staff and allowing them more time to focus on patient care. As well as improving quality of care they are also saving health boards money during extremely challenging financial times.

“I’m very pleased to see Swansea Bay has developed its own digital system to help speed up safe discharge from hospital, which is vital to improving flow through hospitals and cutting waiting times. Innovations such as this are exactly the sort of solutions we need to implement to ensure an NHS that is fit for the future.”

In September, it was announced that three further grant awards had been made to digital community pharmacy system suppliers from the Community Pharmacy System Innovation Fund (CPSIF), to deliver electronic prescription services (EPS) in Wales.

Earlier this month, Public Health Wales (PHW) launched a new digital and data strategy to enhance health data accessibility, quality, and security, acting as an enabling strategy to deliver its long term public health strategy. The strategy sets out three overarching themes: to build strong foundations, build in alignment and to build to make a difference.