Rural eMeds: achieving Smarter Safer Better approaches to medications

Angela Firth1, Miss Miriam Tan1

1NSW Health, Dubbo, Australia


Introduction: Medication-related incidents are the third highest reported incident type in Australian hospitals. Errors can be reduced by more than 55% with the introduction of electronic medication management (eMeds) systems to help manage medication prescribing, dispensing and administration. eMeds improves patient safety by reducing medication errors and adverse drug events during their stay in hospital. Automating the medication ordering process produces standardised, legible, complete orders and when combined with clinical decision support systems, can reduce medication errors.
Aim: To introduce the eMeds application to all inpatient hospital sites through a joint project involving six rural Local Health Districts (LHD). Rolling out in 2018-2019, the project is tackling the tyranny of distance: covering 150 inpatient facilities, across 650,000 km2, serving 1.3 million people
Method: This innovative and collaborative approach involving the six rural LHDs is a first for eHealth NSW. With a single design, governance model and a joint project team, we can ensure greater standardisation across rural NSW, removing clinical variation and practice therefore improving patient’s safety. We acknowledge differences in workflows between rural and metropolitan inpatient wards. Subsequently, we have consulted extensively, with over 400 clinicians across 31 locations, from base hospitals to small, remote facilities to residential aged care units to ensure the eMeds system works smoothly with rural workflows.
Conclusion: This approach will make eMeds a reality for the communities of rural and regional NSW sooner resulting in greater patient safety and outcomes of care.


Miriam grew up in Singleton, a small country town and moved to Dubbo, a regional centre, to pursue a career in rural health. She is passionate about health in rural and remote communities and introducing technology solutions into the healthcare sector in aim to improve patient outcomes and improve their satisfaction with their health care experience.

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