Electronic Medicines Management (eMM) in Norway - A comparative case study

The challenge

Medicines are often not used optimally or safely. Errors are a serious threat to patient safety and a significant health problem.

Lack of communication, understanding and collaboration between pharmacies, hospitals and community caregivers is a challenge. The same applies to lack of awareness and insufficient knowledge about medicine reconciliation, and no formal process to ensure an accurate and complete transfer of medicines information at the interfaces of care. In addition, many doctors are reluctant to delegate medicines management to nurses or pharmacy technicians.

The aim

We want to understand the current challenges within medicines management and make solid recommendations for how digital tools and new practices can make positive contributions to the health and welfare services for the future. To boost integrated care, the eMM project will facilitate the sharing and development of new knowledge and support learning among the key professionals involved in medicines management. This will be done through establishing new arenas for extensive knowledge sharing on the barriers and facilitators of current medicines management practices within and across professions, institutions, and level of care.

Digitalisation to enable collaboration

As in other areas of life, digital technologies offer the promise of many improvements, but how do they really make things better?

By sharing information, digitalisation promises to support greater integration and cooperation between homes, pharmacies, primary and hospital care. At present, health care providers may register medicines in different IT systems. The pervasive silo mentality that exists between primary and specialist health care services complicates medicines management. To reduce medicine errors and improve quality of care, we need to collaborate in new ways and with people and organisations that we normally don’t work with.

The research sites

The research sites are the New University Hospital of North Norway, Narvik and Stavanger University Hospital and their collaborative partners in private and community services. Using qualitative research methods, an interdisciplinary research team will explore and map the current digital tools, the work practises, and the organisational challenges at the sites.

The eMM project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council (2021-2025). It will inform the implementation of new and improved systems and practices for electronic medicines management.