At Singapore General Hospital (SGH), patients who
require medication upon their discharge collect
them from the inpatient pharmacy.
The process would require the patient’s discharge
prescription to be verified, printed and signed
by the attending doctor. After which, the hard
copy prescription would be faxed to the inpatient
pharmacy by the ward nurse for the pharmacists to
verify and process.
“The manual system didn’t allow nurses to track
the status of the orders in real time. They would be
calling the pharmacists to find out if the medication
was ready for collection. It was time-consuming for
both the nursing and pharmacy teams and resulted
in a longer wait for patients to be discharged,”
shares Magdalene Ng, Assistant Director of
To improve the workflow and save time for patients,
a multidisciplinary team consisting of nurses,
doctors, pharmacists and IT administrators worked
together to develop a system to automate the
various discharge prescription processes at SGH.
The team leveraged existing clinical and queue
systems such as Sunrise Clinical Manager (SCM)
and Fastrak, to create a compatible application that
allows doctors to submit the patient’s prescription
online. The application also allows nurses and
pharmacists to view and track the medication
orders in real time.
“Nurses can also indicate specific care instructions
or make amendments for each patient through the
application. This has helped improve patient safety
as the information is reinforced when the
pharmacists go through medication counselling
with the patient,” says Yeo Su Qian, Assistant
Manager, Process Transformation & Improvement.
With real time monitoring, nurses in the ward can
view the status of the orders and notify patients
and their caregivers when it is time to collect their
“On average, medication orders are now ready for
collection within an hour, 30 minutes earlier than it
used to be,” says Ooi Seok Khoon, Pharmacy
Practice Manager, Inpatient Pharmacy.
The automated workflow which was first piloted in
five wards in November 2017 has since been rolled
out to all SGH wards in December 2017.
Despite an increase of 17 per cent in the volume of
medication orders each day, the project has
resulted in lesser waiting time for patients to collect
their medication. The automation of back-end
processes has also freed up staff time and
resulted in an estimated cost savings of more than
$200,000 a year for the hospital.
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