Electronic prescribing for nurse prescribers in community teams

Case study: Kristy Barnfield, Lead Continence Nurse, Community Continence team, Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust.

Case study summary

Key learning on the nurse-led roll-out of safe and efficient electronic prescribing during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • work in partnership with NHS Digital and local IT system suppliers
  • equip staff with the right technology
  • swift user testing of electronic prescribing within existing systems
  • efficiency of virtual training
  • supports effective service delivery and robust data protection.

Background to learning

The Community Continence team at Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust provides prescriptions for patients using catheter, anal irrigation, sheath and stoma appliances. The service is nurse-led by a team of nursing non-medical prescribers and prescription coordinators.

As local primary care services and premises were configured to offer safe and socially distanced attendance in primary care, the team was supported to work from home. When setting up the new process of home working, an opportunity was identified to mitigate some previous system challenges that had previously somewhat frustrated the rollout of electronic prescribing.

This case study explores how this team of specialist continence and stoma nurses worked with NHS Digital and local IT system suppliers to rollout safe and efficient electronic prescribing at a faster pace than before the pandemic.

Learning and advice to be shared

A first priority was ensuring the team had the right computer and telephone equipment.  This enabled patients to leave messages for nurses who then could call back to discuss repeat prescription requests.

The team quickly identified that the continued reliance on paper FP10 forms would delay the fulfilment of prescriptions which would need to be sent by post to pharmacies and dispensing appliance contractors. The team had long been keen to implement electronic prescribing and seized this opportunity to work with NHS Digital and the electronic patient record system supplier to rapidly implement the solution into their community teams.

Working in partnership, and with an acute awareness of the needs within the emergency pandemic situation, user testing of the deployment of electronic prescribing within the team’s systems moved swiftly – such as checking that all the possible prescribing information had been loaded. Training was undertaken remotely, focussing on issues such as the use of digital signatures.

The testing and training were identified as a success and the team was delighted to go live with electronic prescribing the following day.

Would it be beneficial to retain these changes?

The switch to electronic prescribing supported effective service delivery and robust data protection when the team switched to remote working. However, the team expects the rollout to be a catalyst for further efficiencies and a more cost-effective service where patients, pharmacies and dispensing appliance contractors can mitigate delays in receiving the prescription and products. Having piloted the rollout of electronic prescribing at the start of the pandemic, the functionality and its benefits has already been rolled-out to other community teams across the trust.

The team now are also considering how the functionality can be safely and effectively integrated within health apps to further improve the ordering and coordination of repeat prescription ordering and improve patient care and experience.

Case study led by Kristy Barnfield, Lead Continence Nurse, Community Continence Team, Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust.

For any further detail on this case study or to connect with Kristy Barnfield, please email england.1professionalvoice@nhs.net