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NHS England - Transformation Directorate

Adopting a blueprint: EPMA implementation at Wye Valley NHS Trust

The blueprints generated by Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) trusts provide step-by-step guides - covering care settings, care pathways and digital capabilities - to help other organisations in their own implementation. Many trusts have already fed back on how the blueprints have saved them time and money, including Digital Aspirant trusts who are required through the programme to produce blueprints of their own.

In this case study, Wye Valley NHS Trust describes how using a blueprint helped them implement their electronic prescribing and medicines administration (EPMA) system.

What was the aim?

A paper-based medicine prescribing system was being used within the trust equating to 10 to 15 items of prescribing per patient.

The trust had a weak digital maturity model with a HIMSS score of 1, aiming to move towards a digital future and a HIMSS score of 5.

The aim was for 50% of the prescribing being electronic to increase patient safety and improve clinicians’ experience.

The EPMA solution also required integration with the current Patient Administration System (PAS).

What was the solution?

As a Fast Follower of Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, the trust implemented an EPMA solution covering both outpatients and inpatients.

The solution has enabled standardised prescribing habits and allows clinicians to adhere to the trust’s formulary rules and guidelines resulting in 2 to 5% of cost savings annually. Additionally, the solution has improved clinical decision support and fosters better prescribing habits.

How has the blueprint helped?

As Fast Follower of Taunton, the trust was able to utilise Taunton’s valuable resources such as the Output Based Specification (OBS) requirements documents to prioritise their requirements resulting in significant time savings. Additionally, the trust was able to leverage Taunton’s Full Tender (procurement) process and liaise with the three main suppliers instead of 15, which saved the trust six months of effort.

What were the benefits?

Time and resource effort savings as a result of shared artefacts such as OBS, business case and process flows.

An ongoing network of support and collaboration which can be leveraged in the future for other initiatives.

What were the results?

The EPMA solution successfully implemented within 6 months.

An ongoing support network has been established for staff involved in EPMA.

What were the challenges and learning points?

Time constraints around available funding added to the delivery pressure and it is something which should be re-considered for the future.

System testing requires an experienced testing manager with expert domain knowledge which is not always possible or available; therefore, shared artefacts including test scripts can prove to be extremely beneficial.


“The blueprint information provided a how-to guide. We were able to take in the information, digest that and formulate our project - from team structure to procurement of the software itself. By using the documentation, we could get the procurement period down to two months (when a normal procurement could take six-12 months).

“The blueprints helped us understand lessons learnt, so that we wouldn't spend extra time on tasks, which was very helpful. It gave us a doorway into talking directly to other hospitals that are in the same position as us. We now have direct communication links with Taunton, who have links with Plymouth, so now we have a group and we have weekly meetings to see where they are at. They are now learning from us and we are supporting each other.

“I would highly recommend blueprints for other trusts. You can really learn from them and it provides a support network.”

Stefan Siekierski, EPMA Project Manager, Wye Valley NHS Trust