Digital transformation in mental health settings

Mental health trusts care for patients with severe mental health needs, and that care is very complex. It also covers physical health, social care, and mental health law.

In February, the UK government announced an additional investment into mental health services, including new infrastructure and funding of projects with a mission to support urgent mental health care. However, many of mental health projects are digital, as we come to realise the potential of electronic prescribing in the area of delivering fast, effective mental health care. 

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) has been working with Better Meds to improve mental health care and shape ePMA use in mental health trusts. They went live with Better Meds in 2022, but we have been cooperating for years in order to provide patients with the best care possible. Barbara Arroyo, Interim CCIO at SLaM, presented their use case at our Better Meds event in February in London.

Key factors for successful development of a mental health ePMA system, according to Barbara, include:

    clinically led, digitally enabled approach with an ePMA designed to act as a key enabler for providing outstanding patient care and linked to the trust's medicines policy,
•    integrated solution developed to capture patient consent and capacity,
•    ePMA experts on hand to assist during go-live,
•    integration into existing quality systems, such as trust's EPR and care records.

Reflecting on the impact of ePMA on mental health settings, she said: “We’ve seen time saved, there is less duplication, less interruptions and, with discharges, we are more efficient. It’s been like night and day for us.”

As emphasised, the implementation of an ePMA system is not enough: the system serves as an enabler of improved care, yet it will not stand on its own, as mentioned by research as well. Streamlining of user interface, interoperability among various systems, and continuous learning remain as crucial as ever to providing quality care tailored to mental health settings' needs and reducing medication errors.


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