Eastern AHSN began implementing Transfer of Care Around Medicines (TCAM), also known locally as the Electronic Medicines Optimisation Pathway (EMOP), in acute trusts in late 2016, as part of an AHSN national programme.
This programme aimed to reduce the risk of medication errors when a patient is discharged from an acute setting into the community by supporting the adoption of PharmOutcomes software, which allows hospitals to transfer a patient’s discharge information to their chosen community pharmacy.
Evidence suggests that follow-up with a community pharmacist post-discharge is associated with reduced hospital readmissions. Given the success of the TCAM initiative in acute trusts, the three mental health trusts in the Eastern region expressed interest in implementing the system to support vulnerable patients with their medication as they transition from an inpatient setting to community care.
This programme – the Discharge Medicines Service (DMS) – came into effect in February 2021, becoming a new essential service within the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF), with associated payments to community pharmacies for every referral they complete. This provided even greater impetus to pharmacies and trusts to ensure adequate systems were in place to deliver the service.
We worked with Newcastle University to evaluate the progress made in embedding this programme across our region based on analysis of DMS activity data to date and a series of focus groups and interviews with key stakeholders across the East of England.
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