SA health to cut errors with $4.4m pharma system

The South Australian government has pledged AU$4.4 million to put a new pharmacy management system in 11 hospitals.

The South Australian government has pledged AU$4.4 million to put a new pharmacy management system in 11 hospitals.

The system, iPharmacy — provided by IBA Health subsidiary iSoft and partner Healthcare Software — will now act as a central repository of information for all 11 hospitals. Instead of each hospital having its own individual system, giving medical professionals better information to make decisions said SA health department CIO David Johnston.

The new system will also operate a standardised drugs database for all pharmacists, replacing the diverse systems in operation previously.

"It sounds like a really small thing but it's not," he noted.

Once this backbone is in place, scheduled for 2009, a pharmacy audit system will be put in place enabling doctors to prescribe medications online. The prescription is sent directly to the pharmacists, removing the need to enter information manually and cutting the chance of errors.

It will also save staff time, according to Johnston: "At the moment you get nurses running down to the pharmacy to fill scripts and waiting," he said.

The implementation of the audit system is scheduled to finish in 2010.

Choosing which system to invest in was a "fairly strenuous exercise", according to the SA CIO. One benefit of the IBA system is that it can be run across 11 hospitals on the one instance of software, which some of the other systems could not, he said.

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