The European Commission has awarded Northern Ireland the maximum of three stars as reference site for Active & Healthy Ageing. This recognition of best practice is based on the way in which older people are treated by integrated healthcare teams and integrated medicines management (IMM) to improve their health status and quality of life.
The Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT), one of the healthcare institutions in Northern Ireland and inventor of the IMM-concept, is a partner of Digitalis Mx (Amsterdam) and Digitalis MM (Dublin). An important element of IMM is STEPSelect, a jointly developed, innovative methodology for procurement processes.
Quality and safety
Scientific research has proven how and why IMM and STEPSelect are so successful. Quality and safety of medicine procurement increased dramatically and at substantial lower cost.
The IMM system resulted in reduction in the mean length of stay by two days and time to readmission was increased by 20 days. The communication between primary and secondary care was improved, so that incidents with medication-transfer were reduced. Older people valued the IMM service for increasing their ability to manage their own conditions.
Originally the STEPSelect methodology was produced for medicines, but is now being extended for dressings and medical and surgical devices. The scope for other products produced by Digitalis as further components of the medicines system are under review of the NHSCT. These include Clinical Rules and Prescriptor (a decision support system applicable at the point of prescribing).
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For information on reference sites, Excellent Innovation for Ageing – European guide and the IMM service in Northern Ireland:
Excellent Innovation for Ageing – a European guide: the Reference sites of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, July 2013.