At Singapore General Hospital (SGH), patients who require medication upon their discharge collect them from the inpatient pharmacy.

The process would require the patient’s discharge prescription to be verified, printed and signed by the attending doctor. After which, the hard copy prescription would be faxed to the inpatient pharmacy by the ward nurse for the pharmacists to verify and process.

“The manual system didn’t allow nurses to track the status of the orders in real time. They would be calling the pharmacists to find out if the medication was ready for collection. It was time-consuming for both the nursing and pharmacy teams and resulted in a longer wait for patients to be discharged,” shares Magdalene Ng, Assistant Director of Nursing.

To improve the workflow and save time for patients, a multidisciplinary team consisting of nurses, doctors, pharmacists and IT administrators worked together to develop a system to automate the various discharge prescription processes at SGH.

The team leveraged existing clinical and queue systems such as Sunrise Clinical Manager (SCM) and Fastrak, to create a compatible application that allows doctors to submit the patient’s prescription online. The application also allows nurses and pharmacists to view and track the medication orders in real time.

“Nurses can also indicate specific care instructions or make amendments for each patient through the application. This has helped improve patient safety as the information is reinforced when the pharmacists go through medication counselling with the patient,” says Yeo Su Qian, Assistant Manager, Process Transformation & Improvement.

With real time monitoring, nurses in the ward can view the status of the orders and notify patients and their caregivers when it is time to collect their medication.

“On average, medication orders are now ready for collection within an hour, 30 minutes earlier than it used to be,” says Ooi Seok Khoon, Pharmacy Practice Manager, Inpatient Pharmacy.

The automated workflow which was first piloted in five wards in November 2017 has since been rolled out to all SGH wards in December 2017.

Despite an increase of 17 per cent in the volume of medication orders each day, the project has resulted in lesser waiting time for patients to collect their medication. The automation of back-end processes has also freed up staff time and resulted in an estimated cost savings of more than $200,000 a year for the hospital.

No More Paper RX 
Singapore General Hospital 

Recipient of the Singapore Health Quality Service Awards (SHQSA) 2019 Special Mention - Service Initiative Improvement