Omnicell UK & Ireland, a leading provider of automated healthcare and medication adherence solutions, hosted a health summit on the eve of World Patient Safety Day, to discuss the impact of medication errors on patients and the NHS. The session focussed on the role technology can play in preventing such issues.
The summit, this year held via webinar, comes off the backdrop of the Department of Health and Social Care disclosing that in England 237 million mistakes occur every year at some point in the medication process. These errors cause serious issues for patient safety, but also place a significant cost burden on an already stretched NHS. The 2019 Patient Safety Strategy published by NHS England and NHS Improvement also found the NHS failed to save 11,000 lives a year due to safety concerns with the cost of extra treatment needed following incidents being over £1bn.
A number of high-profile panel members answered a series of questions from the audience on solutions and best practice to improve patient safety with the aim of debating and sharing ideas on how to meet challenges and the impact of COVID-19.
One of the panelists, Patient Safety Learning's Chief Digital Office Clive Flashman, agreed with the other panel members that the NHS had become more collaborative and familiar with technology since Covid: “We’ve seen a definite increase in telehealth and telemeds. Covid has forced cultural blockers that were there before to be removed out of necessity. There has been a growth in robotic pharmacy automation to free up staff time from high volume administration tasks to do more complex work that adds value for patients.”
But with the second-wave of COVID-19 still a very real threat he advised: “We don’t want to wait until the next wave to learn a lesson – we need to learn lessons now. Quality Improvement Leads should be focussed on what went right and what went wrong over that period between March and May. They need to be looking at what we can learn from that now and what we can do differently next time. If we don’t do that, we won’t succeed in the second wave where we might fail.”
Ed Platt, Automation Director, Omnicell UK & Ireland, added: “Challenges within the NHS throughout Covid has forced them to embrace technology and drive innovation."
"It’s important that when things go back to normal, we don’t go back to the same status quo. We need to invest in the right infrastructure in hospitals so unnecessary demands and stress are not put on pharmacy, supply managers and nurses so they are free to focus on patient care not administration tasks."
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Source: NHE, 17 September 2020
You can watch the webinar on demand here