08 Jul 2021

Digital Transformation of Medication Audits in the NHS

Digital Transformation of Medication Audits in the NHS

With the help of an innovative platform, NHS hospital pharmacy teams are taking a huge step closer to achieving their digital targets.

We Love Surveys, the team behind the brand-new Drugs Audit platform, has been carrying out patient feedback alongside NHS trusts for many years. It was one of these relationships that launched the idea that would grow into the Drugs Audit platform, when a Clinical Pharmacist approached the We Love Surveys team asking for help with Controlled Drugs Audits.

The challenges they were facing? There are too many to recount. Audits were slow and painful - taking up valuable time and often having inaccuracies. Working together, the team managed to look at new ways of working and, essentially, it changed their pace of process and provided the granularity, the automation, and the robustness that other electronic solutions didn't.

By working directly with the NHS, the Drugs Audit platform has been created to directly address barriers with a wide range of medication audits that are being faced every day.

How NHS Clinical Drugs Audits have worked in the past

Controlled Drugs audits, among others, are a key part of any clinical pharmacist's role, being carried out regularly throughout the year, as required by the Department of Health.

They are statutory and essential but time-consuming on a massive scale, even for smaller trusts with just fewer locations compared to larger trusts with 70-80 wards/locations. Large amounts of time are spent doing administration tasks, inputting and analysing data, and even after all this effort, the results aren't always accurate.

Manual, cumbersome and time consuming; medication audits are a lesser-known pain for pharmacists in hospitals.' With inherent risks of human error, the current process for carrying out audits, through no fault of the teams, is deeply flawed in many locations.' With no set way of doing things and a wide variety of policies feeding the audit standards, it's hard to do anything in any way other than the way it has always been done.' The frustrations are real and felt every day by clinical pharmacy teams.' This comment from one of our partner pharmacists is a classic example of the challenge a manual audit creates:

'If it says you should have 28 morphine and you don't, then that's an issue. So we'd have to report it, and investigate it. You have to contact the person who filled out the form, so you're almost educating them post-audit to do actions they should have done at the time.

'Another issue is the constant chasing of people. If you have 150 audits and 84 had come back, how do you know which area hasn't been done? Who do you chase?

- Chief Pharmacist, NHS Trust

The introduction of Drugs Audit removes the vast majority of challenges and barriers to compliance instantly.

Why NHS Trusts are teaming up with Drugs Audit'

Drugs Audit has simplified the entire process of completing medication audits for hospital pharmacy teams.' The web-based platform reduces the amount of manual administration time required and improves compliance immediately.'

And it's not just CD Audits anymore.' There is now a wide variety of templates from Medication Safety and FP10 to Fridge and Oxygen audits to name a few.' We are working hand in hand with our partners to ensure we have all relevant audits ready to use in the system, sometimes at a moment's notice!

Designed to be easy to use, the audit can be accessed from any device but in most cases the person completing the audit will do so using a phone.' The system makes each standard clear and offers guidance when a non compliance is identified in the form of imagery and help text.'' With mandatory fields and colour coded answers you can't miss a standard or forget to write a comment, so incomplete or illegible forms are no longer a problem.

From a storage perspective, there is no longer a need to store paper copies as the digital files will be available for you for the required period of time, either save to a local file or simply access the files when you want it.' As soon as an audit has been completed, it is uploaded to the server and it produces a digital copy.

In an era where smartphones and tablets on wards are a normal way of practice, this improved process becomes the norm very quickly.' With instant results and alerts the old pain that came with drugs audits will be gone immediately.'

'For us, working with Drugs Audit is so refreshing.' The platform is perfect for our needs and it does exactly what you promised.' More importantly, you are nothing like other software providers, you are always there for us, responsive to our needs and you really do care, this makes all the difference for us'

- Chief Pharmacist, NHS Trust

What's next for Drugs Audit?

Drugs Audit will launch officially in August 2021 and the team behind Drugs Audit are actively looking for a small number of trusts to try out the platform and provide feedback for future developments.' Those trusts that come forward will enjoy early access to all features, an improved audit process within weeks and most importantly a freeing of clinical time to focus on the most important work - patient care.

You can sign up to hear the latest from Drugs Audit, or register for a demo of the platform for yourself at https://www.drugsaudit.com/cpc