CIUSSS West-Central Montreal is first health network in Quebec to fully adopt electronic prescriptions and drug administration
Our CIUSSS has become the first health network in the province to complete its conversion to a paperless prescription system, a move that promises increased efficiency and a boost in safety for residents and patients.
The prescription and administering of medication are now being handled electronically for residents and in-patients at all sites of CIUSSS West-Central Montreal. This completes a process that began at the Jewish General Hospital in 2015 and now extends to rehabilitation facilities and long-term care centres across the network.
“This is a milestone. It’s the start of a new era,” says Eva Cohen, Chief of the Pharmacy Department. “All our residents and patients, whether they’re in long-term care, rehabilitation or acute care, now benefit from this electronic process.”
Using the digital system known as PANDAWebRx, doctors can enter prescriptions directly onto an electronic platform from a computer at any location. The prescription is seen instantly on-screen by a pharmacist, who can begin validating the information and dispensing the drug right away.
Gone are the days of faxing, scanning or physically carrying a hand-written prescription to the pharmacy.
“Everything is done instantly and simultaneously,” says Elisa Hoare, the project’s coordinator for our CIUSSS. “In an era of remote work, where computers are everywhere and we’re not necessarily in our offices or by a patient’s chart, this allows for flexibility and efficiency.”
The shift to electronic prescriptions—part of our CIUSSS’s vision of using digital innovation in the service of patient care—will have a significant impact in cutting paperwork for nurses, who used to manually transcribe prescriptions into a paper record. They will have access to prescriptions on-screen immediately, including comments from pharmacists on the proper way to administer the drugs.
“This will reduce paperwork, simplify the prescription process, on top of improving safety and the quality of care,” says Marc-André Reid, Chief Nursing Information Officer for our CIUSSS. He praised the way partners within the CIUSSS collaborated on the new system “with rigour,” even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The system enhances safety in other ways. Illegible handwriting on paper prescriptions is a thing of the past. And important information about patients’ allergies or drug protocols appears automatically at the moment doctors enter their prescriptions into the system.
“The impact is huge,” says Gaëlle Abittan, Assistant Chief of the Pharmacy Department. “Not only does this electronic system save time and precious resources, it adds a considerable level of safety.”
“Ultimately,” she adds, “it allows for medications to be administered to patients in a safer and much quicker timeframe.”
After its implementation at the JGH, the electronic system was extended to our CIUSSS’s rehabilitation and long-term care sites. Its connection to Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre in February marked the completion of the network and its CIUSSS-wide coverage of patients and residents.
Ms. Cohen says this broad implementation required the support of the administration, as well as intensive collaboration by physicians and staff in Nursing, Pharmacy and IT. “It was a huge endeavour,” she says.