Safer medicines – what role can digital tools play?

Guest blog by Pieter van de Graaf – eHealth Clinical Strategy Lead, Scottish Government – as part of Scottish Digital Health & Care Week 2015.

ehealth blog 3 pic 1.jpgMedication is a key part of effective healthcare. Yet, medication related errors, either on the clinician or patient side, can have serious health consequences.

In Scotland, two key programmes are aimed at increasing the safety of medicine use taking a whole system approach: the Scottish Patient Safety Programme – Medicines and the eHealth Integrated Safer Medicines Programme, part of Prescription for Excellence and the eHealth Strategy. Clearly, there are important overlaps between these two programmes in areas where patients and health & care workers make decisions together. Both include the use of digital tools to support such joint decision making.

Our ultimate aim is that all health and care professionals, and individual patients (or their family or carers), can access a complete medication list. This view should be an integrated summary of all medicines prescribed, dispensed, and taken for all pathways of care to assist effective (joint) decision making.

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We’re hoping that using digital tools and IT systems to increase the safety of medicines will work in several different ways:

  • enable patient data to be captured, recorded and stored more accurately, safely and efficiently;
  • allow those data to be shared more safely, easily and effectively between different professional groups;
  • enable better informed decision making;
  • allow inefficient processes to be streamlined;
  • enable patients to have a more active role in decision making.

Changing existing working practices to introduce such digital tools and systems can be challenging. The introduction of new ways of working together will require a change in behaviour from both health professionals and patients, supported by training and guidance.

We have on-going discussions with health professionals on our digital approach to safer medicines. This blog is the start of our conversation with those who are affected most: you.

Please join the National Conversation and give us your views on the role of digital tools in realising safer medicines in Scotland.

Published by

Healthier Scotland

The Scottish Government is inviting you to have your say on what a healthier Scotland should look like in the next 10 to 15 years.