A Scottish health board has launched a new electronic prescribing and medication administration system to give patients “the best level of care possible”.    

NHS Grampian says the new system – known as Hospital Electronic Prescribing and Medication Administration (HEPMA) – will improve patient safety and hospital efficiency.   

It is now in use across 20 wards in the region and will be rolled out to the rest in the coming months.    

Executive nurse director, June Brown said: “HEPMA, in the simplest sense, replaces the paper card at the end of your bed that lists the medicines you take while in hospital.    

“It allows doctors, nurses and pharmacists to prescribe on there. HEPMA replaces the paper system with an electronic system, puts it all on computer, and has lots of advantages for us.   

“There’ll be no more signatures that are difficult to decipher, no more drug names misspelled, and makes that all very clear.   

“With that also comes a great audit trail. That can help around education and training.    

“It also lets us look at when people are getting their medications and ensure they aren’t missing doses. Some medicines, timings are important and HEPMA will help us spot any issues really early.”    

HEPMA is already in use across several areas in Scotland, the North of Scotland boards – Orkney, Western Isles, Tayside, Shetland and Highland – all either recently rolling HEPMA out or preparing to do so.    

NHS Grampian’s medical director, Nick Fluck said: “Because this is being rolled out across the North of Scotland it will help us compare what is happening in a way we’ve never been able to do before.    

“Where staff move between boards or hospitals, it will now mean the same system is in use at each one. That will massively make it better for staff.    

“We’ve also patients who need specialist treatment away from their home board, where they usually receive care, and this will make that considerably easier for staff to share information.”