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ePMA systems – success is not just about the technology

Any organisation contemplating an ePMA programme has many issues to resolve on the road to unlocking the unquestionable benefits. Channel 3 has helped organisations go on this journey. The net result has been effective staff structures and roles, and safe IT implementations.

Why does the NHS plan to move away from traditional hard copy administration of medications to digital alternatives by 2024? After all, this is no mean task and the impact on clinical and operational staff is huge. 

The headline statistic identified by the NHS is that medication errors can be reduced by up to 30% after transitioning to digital alternatives for prescribing and administering medication, so read on to discover how you can enjoy the benefits of ePMA. If you need support on your digital transformation journey, you can contact us to learn more.

Many UK hospitals have unlocked ePMA benefits for patients, clinicians, medical staff and pharmacists in the following areas:

Minimised clinical risk

Inbuilt fail-safes, which remove the potential for human error, minimise the clinical risk associated with drug prescription and administration. When prescribing is done on paper it compromises the audit trail and increases the potential of loss of information.

Channel 3 supports in several ways:

Ward efficiencies

Ward rounds that use hard copy prescription methods and manual administration of medicine are inefficient. The process takes longer than it should and does not use staff in the best way.

How Channel 3 contributes to ward efficiencies:

Staff utilisation

Without an ePMA system, prescribing must be completed by doctors. By implementing an ePMA a nurse can work at the top of their grade by completing this task.

How Channel 3 supports staff utilisation:

Put simply, ePMA systems enable doctors to prescribe, nurses to administer and pharmacists to clinically review and reconcile medications. Additionally, pharmacy technicians can input drug histories and order medications and members of the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) may also be given access to carry out duties within their professional competency. For those reasons, medical professionals across the NHS are genuinely excited about the possibilities that successful ePMA system implementations offer.

However, there is often a tendency to focus on choosing the right technology solution and, whilst this is an important element of the project, there are other considerations to be met – ultimately this is a digital transformation project.

As with all clinical system implementations, effectively embedding an ePMA system is a complicated process. It involves job role and responsibility changes, shifting team dynamics and incorporating new processes.

Diagram showing the Channel 3 ePMA system process

Choosing an experienced external partner like Channel 3, who provide a multi-disciplinary team, ensures a holistic approach to the project that satisfies the needs across the teams involved – namely pharmaceutical, nursing and medical staff. A coordinated approach is essential.


“Channel 3 Consulting helped us understand the scale of the task facing us in switching to a single Electronic Patient Record and plan accordingly. As a result, we’ve been able to successfully engage with our teams and ensure those delivering care to patients have access to the information they need in a format that is easy to use, reliable and secure. Channel 3’s expertise in EPR procurement and implementation ensured the smooth-running of this project which is already delivering the outcomes we intended.”

Richard Banks
Director of Health Informatics at Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber Trust


Our experienced team will support through the various stages involved in ePMA implementation:


“Channel 3’s experience of ePMA system implementation has taught us that for NHS organisations to map out all the potential benefits of a system to all departments and, crucially, the patients then an informed and impartial external view is extremely beneficial. Without this, the experience and requirements of department representatives can skew projects, resulting in unintentional silos. We excel in bringing all stakeholders together to assess, plan, implement and review highly effective digital transformation plans around ePMA and clinical systems”

David Churchill
Partner at Channel 3


In summary, ePMA system selection and implementation is a massive undertaking. Those organisations and trusts that fail to leverage the benefits of outside assistance are often those that experience a benefits debt and fail to fully realise the potential.

Whatever stage your trust is at, Channel 3’s experts can support you.

Contact Channel 3 Consulting to discuss your next steps for Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration systems. A member of our team can discuss your current situation and how we can support you in your next steps.

Call 020 3866 4838 or email info@channel3consulting.co.uk

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