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Electronic drug register an Australian-first

Pharmacists and nurses no longer have to fill out paper records to manage drugs of dependence, after the implementation of electronic drug register – HS8.

It all started during an informal conversation in the drug safe back in 2016.

“We had about 40 folders full of books covering 164 drugs, plus the patient’s own drug register and a destruction register,” explains Peter Blewitt, Associate Director of Pharmacy.

“The Deputy Director at the time, Ben Leung, said ‘gee I would love to get rid of those books’. I thought I can have a go at that. After doing a quick ‘google’ I found there was nothing out there – so I started designing an electronic drug of dependence register.”

In 2017, the concept came to life when Peninsula Health partnered with software company Modeus. HS8 went live in Pharmacy in August 2018. Frankston Hospital staff begun using it on the Surgical Short Stay Unit in August 2019, and Port Phillip Ward in November, with plans to roll out the program across the health service next year. 

“The electronic system improves accuracy – it requires a blind count so unlike in the paper world, you can’t just copy balances – you have to physically count what is left of the drug and enter it in,” adds Peter.

“If the balance is incorrect it flags as red, so it can be investigated straight away. We have already seen a reduction in incident reports coming through.”

Another benefit of the system is that it saves time.

“In pharmacy we tested how long it takes to document a five item distribution to a ward using the paper books and the electronic system. We found that using HS8 was 40% faster. Other transactions type were faster too and we’ve estimated the system will save about 10 hours a month of pharmacists’ time.”

“On the wards, we found that doing the drug of dependence balance check each shift is much faster too and could save some wards as much as 15 hours per month in nursing time.”

This has a big benefit for patients.

“HS8 is ensuring all drugs of dependence are managed accurately and is allowing nurses and pharmacists to spend less time doing administrative tasks, and more time with patients.”

“This is an Australian first and the system is likely to be implemented across Australia. I have already had calls from health services in every state enquiring about it,” says Peter.