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University Hospitals of Derby & Burton NHS Foundation Trust use CareFlow Pharmacy to Free Up Beds and Save Thousands of Hours of Staff Time.

The pharmacy team at the University of Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust have been using CareFlow Pharmacy, a hospital-wide pharmacy management system, for almost 30 years, initially via JAC Computer Services and more recently through System C Healthcare. There have been significant changes during that time with the use of technology accelerating within the Trust, and the tools themselves becoming increasingly sophisticated. However, one thing has remained consistent – the confidence that the Trust has in the pharmacy platform, and the positive, constructive relationship with the CareFlow Medicines Management (CMM) team.

"We’ve always been well supported and listened to," explains Lynsey Murray, Chief Technician (Pharmacy Finance and Information) at Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust.

"Through the User Groups and National Conference, I’ve made long-standing friends across multiple Trusts and Health Boards, as well as with CMM staff. For me that is really appreciated, as you feel part of the family and part of the wider team."

Homecare module saves thousands of hours per year

There have been numerous projects and enhancements over the years. Recently, the CareFlow Homecare module has been one of the stand-out performers. Homecare was developed by CMM to support homecare and community services. This allows delivery of ongoing medicine supplies, initiated by the hospital prescriber, direct to the patient’s home with their consent.

Derby and Burton was selected, along with Ipswich, in 2013 to help scope out the Homecare functionality. Then, once it was built, they tested it. It proved to be successful and quickly became a permanent part of the pharmacy team’s toolkit.

Since launch, the number of patients going through the Homecare module has quadrupled.

"There is no way we could manage the patients that we do without it," says Lynsey.

"Homecare services save clinic time because we’re managing treatments without patients needing to come in. When required, nursing support is available to allow administration of medication in a patient's own home. It has helped the Trust make significant financial savings and saves the pharmacy department time as well. The Homecare module makes the process so much quicker and easier to process the workload – we could not manage this number of patients using our old process of raising orders, booking each line in and then issuing to the patient and then processing the invoice.

There are currently 6,000 patients being cared for through the Homecare module, with each needing a minimum of two prescriptions per year. Homecare has helped us save 40% of the time on existing Pharmacy process of staff time, equating to approximately 10 weeks per year."

Other modules and advancements

Derby and Burton have seen several other benefits from CareFlow Pharmacy, including the development of the Aseptic Unit that provides the functionality to create patient aseptically prepared products. Previously, the Aseptics team had to create a paper worksheet, then use one system to produce the labels, then go out into another CMM system to book the stock out. The multiple steps and systems meant that there was increased potential for error, duplication, and inefficiencies. Not ideal when aseptics are so expensive to make, and something that resulted in confusion and wasted time. Using the Aseptic Module, it is clear to see which item has been issued to a patient, along with drug strength and diluent – but the team can also still see which items have been issued to manufacture the item as they are issued, greatly assisting with stock control.

The Aseptics module tracks what is being made, distributed and stored each day, and the stock balance remaining.

"Now, we can easily see what is being produced and what is booked out," says Lynsey. "It is all evidenced and traceable, plus it saves time because it cuts a step out of the process."

The CareFlow Web Dispenser has also been of value, which enables the pharmacy staff to receive messages in real-time from the Trust’s prescribing system, and dispense items, which includes printing medicine labels. Fifty percent of Lynsey’s system users now only use the web-based dispenser, and don’t use the client based dispenser anymore. She is now working with the remaining employees to help move them across.

"It was fantastic being part of that product build process," shares Lynsey.

"We had the CMM Product Manager here discussing what we needed, then a week later it was there, and we were testing it. Seeing the first messages coming through and labels being printed off was a great moment."

What’s Next?

One of Lynsey’s priorities is to transfer the Homecare module to the web. Following that, she is hoping to see a fully web-based system in place, followed by further enhancements.

"CareFlow Pharmacy is already a brilliant working system,” she says. “If my end users are using the system correctly to do their jobs, improving the stock control, the returns and all the aspects of their roles, then that’s amazing. Anything else is a bonus.

For anyone considering using the CareFlow Pharmacy System, my advice would be to come and see it working. Come and visit me. Nothing beats seeing a live working system and being able to ask questions in real time.

And once you’ve implemented the new system, join the user group community, get involved, meet your peers. There is so much knowledge out there. You’ll save so much time asking the right questions of the right people. And come to the Annual User Group, it’s the best place to network and find out what’s happening across the various product groups."

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