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by Pete Hughes
Published on 1 September 2016

Pete studied Pharmacy at the Welsh School of Pharmacy, Cardiff University. He has practiced as a Pharmacist at different Trusts across the country for over 4 years. He joined Cerner in 2013 as a Delivery Consultant for Cerner’s ePMA solution and recently became Cerner’s IP Strategist for the UK and Ireland.

My role at Cerner allows me to use my experience and knowledge to drive the direction of new developments, ensuring that user’s experience and patient’s safety are at its heart. There’s nothing more rewarding than listening to clinicians, understanding the challenges they face and then working with them to find solutions and seeing the benefits, not only to them but also to their patients.

I became a Pharmacist to help improve patient care. Working at Cerner allows me to do this at a national and even global scale, utilising my professional skills with my love for technology, helping to innovate and drive how technology is used in healthcare.

One of the most important roles of the pharmacist is confirming a patient’s medication history. This is the point in the patient’s medicines reconciliation process where you sign to confirm that the list of medications you are providing to other care givers is exactly what the patient was taking prior to coming into hospital. Clinical staff will use this list for many of their clinical decisions during the patient’s stay and subsequent discharge. I will always remember the fear as a newly qualified pharmacist, having exhausted all the resources I could lay my hands on, that I may have still missed something.

An incorrect or missing information can have a significant impact on patient’s care. It can influence decisions the medical team make over which medicine to give or which treatment pathway. It can also impact the patient’s own experience and ability to take their medication. For instance, if a patient usually needs a multi-compartment aid to keep track of their medications and if as a pharmacist I missed this, there’s the risk that the patient will go home unable to correctly take their medication.

More and more patients are on multiple medications from multiple different places, making my (and undoubtedly other pharmacists’) fear of missing something increasingly likely. For its many benefits, this is where an integrated Electronic Health Record (EHR) helps to ensure that Pharmacy staff can accurately obtain and document a patient’s medication history and make recommendations to their treatment with the information they need close at hand.

Easier access to real time information such as previous admission data, summary care record, vitals and laboratory data allows pharmacy staff to be confident that the information they are collecting is accurate and current.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Pharmacists can now know what awaits them on a daily basis before even setting foot on the ward. Prioritisation of patients, for example which patient’s need to be seen first and those needing to be counselled on their medications, can be managed through real time EHR dashboards.

I am very fortunate that in my role, I am working with the NHS to improve patient care as a whole and really make a difference.