17 July 2020

Ed Platt, Omnicell’s UK Sales Director backs newly published safety review that calls for wide-ranging and radical improvements across the UK health system.

The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, chaired by Baroness Julia Cumberlege, published it report “First Do No Harm” earlier this week. “First Do No Harm” sets out nine major recommendations to bring much-needed help and support to those who have suffered as a result of these interventions, and to reduce the risk of avoidable harm from medicines and medical devices in the future.

“This review has been a long awaited two-year programme of work which could be the catalyst for change that the UK health care system has been crying out for.

With over three quarters of medication errors within secondary care happening during the administration process, it’s vital that Trusts also have systems in place to ensure nurses are able to select the right dose of the right drug and administer it to the right patient. Omnicell automated medication dispensing cabinets provide this safety net.

The review also refers to staff spending more time with patients to educate them on their medications. Staggeringly it is estimated that approximately 40% of nurses’ clinical time is spent administering medications, translating to 12-16 hours in any given working week. Omnicell technology can help staff spend less time on labor intensive and administration tasks meaning they can spend significantly more time on patient services and face to face patient care.

Two of the other recommendations are central to our work with GS1. Firstly, "the regulator of medicines and medical devices, the MHRA, needs to put patients at the heart of its activity, and to overhaul adverse event reporting and medical device regulation”. The second recommendation "that a central patient-identifiable database should be created by collecting key details of the implantation of all devices at the time of the operation. This can then be linked to specifically created registers to research and audit the outcomes both in terms of the device safety and patient reported outcomes measures”.

We are a GS1 certified partner so all our Omnicell systems are fully compliant. Our systems can capture the GS1 user, location, patient, item and lot number as required by GS1. In the event of a stock take or product recall, the reporting system can tell Trusts which product has been used for which patient and which is still on a shelf. Once captured in a central database, this will help capture adverse event reporting to meet medical device regulatory requirements and to improve product recall processes.

A great example of this is how Omnicell’s SupplyX could be used point of care in theatres. Our system can identify faulty items on the shelf and connect to the national database when ready with the details of any implantable devices used. This improves patient safety by reducing the use of faulty or recalled products and improves patient outcomes by understanding what has been used, where, when.

This review really goes to show that implementing tried and trusted automation can make a real difference in adverse event reporting, track and trace as well as banishing medication errors strengthening patient safety from the moment the drug is prescribed to the moment the drug is administered to the patient”.