INTERACT – Digitalisation and Medication Management – Europe and South Africa Collaboration

Sponsor: Becton Dickinson
Project Status: CONCLUDED (March 2024)


What aims and scope

The INTERACT project aimed to improve patient safety, healthcare professionals’ wellbeing, and the availability of medicines in South Africa and Europe. Through the exploration of building an intercontinental exchange of practices and supporting local partners in establishing an Alliance of South African patients, hospitals, healthcare professionals, and industry representative organisations, the project advocated for the implementation and upscale of digital medication management systems and tools in South African healthcare settings. Project partners linked similar work to explore the cross-cultural exchange of knowledge and learning.

How it became possible 

EHMA, in collaboration with local stakeholders in South Africa, co-created an advocacy roadmap specific to the South African context. This roadmap identified all stakeholders involved in the digitalisation of healthcare practices in medication management pathways. It outlined the specific steps required to implement an effective advocacy campaign and recommended a timeline for implementation.

EHMA actively engaged with key stakeholders within the South African healthcare ecosystem, including representative organisations for patients, private and public hospitals, pharmacists, public health professionals, and industry partners. Notably, on the 14th of March 2024, EHMA delivered a roundtable event, organised alongside SAPHEX 2024, at the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

The insights and recommendations generated from this consultation served as a starting point to inform the establishment of a South African Alliance focused on digitalising medication management pathways. Potential areas for future actions, collaborations, and research in the field of digitalisation of medication management and medication error reporting were highlighted, setting the stage for ongoing efforts and initiatives.

Furthermore, through the AlliancE for Digitalisation of hosPitAls’ MediCation Management PaThways (EPACT), and EHMA members, EHMA disseminated its European work on the digitalisation of medication management pathways to support inter-continental knowledge exchange and cooperation on this important global health concern.

Where EHMA delivered

EHMA successfully achieved several key aspects as part of its collaborative efforts. This included mapping the healthcare ecosystem and identifying key players. It formed an Alliance with South African-based organisations, advancing the digitisation of hospitals’ medication management pathways.

EHMA collaborated to create a tailored roadmap advocating for medication availability, patient safety, and healthcare professionals’ wellbeing. Networking opportunities were facilitated for South African healthcare professionals to exchange best practices with European counterparts.

Funding

This collaboration is supported by an educational grant from Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) who has no influence or editorial control on any outputs which will be decided by Alliance partners.

WHY YOU WILL BENEFIT

Medication management within hospital settings is a multifaceted process encompassing various stages, from ordering and prescribing to distribution and administration. This intricate pathway involves multiple clinical teams and activities, making it essential to implement digitalisation to ensure patient safety and streamline healthcare professionals’ workflows.

Digitalisation plays a pivotal role in optimising medication management pathways in hospitals. By leveraging technology, errors can be minimised, accuracy enhanced, seamless communication among healthcare providers facilitated, and visibility into medication demand and supply improved. These advancements are not only critical for patient safety but also contribute to the wellbeing of healthcare professionals by reducing administrative burdens and enabling them to focus more on direct patient care.

Our collaboration aimed to foster mutual learning and knowledge exchange between experienced hospital and health managers to benefit both healthcare stakeholders in South Africa and Europe. By sharing best practices and lessons learned in digital healthcare transformation, especially in medication management, and in particular extending our European insights we sought to promote health management improvements between Europe and South Africa.

Through this project, we set out to empower healthcare professionals and patients alike by harnessing the benefits of digitalisation in medication management. This initiative represents a proactive step towards enhancing patient safety, improving care delivery, and driving positive change in healthcare systems.

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What our Members say

I have been active in EHMA since the first years of the '90s and I have seen its evolution from a small association of members interested in sharing knowledge on health management practices to the current status of reference and advisory key player for EU, health systems and organisations, stakeholders associations, industry and universities. EHMA is now a unique knowledge hub, policy advisor, community of practice and network of best in class organisations involved in health policy and management. A place where health managers can build their competences, policy-makers and stakeholder associations envision how to implement and sustain change through health management, industry leaders understand how to engage more effectively with health organisations and systems. The right place to nurture and grow health management capabilities and capacity for every stakeholder of health systems.

Prof. Federico Lega, University of Milan, Italy

Health management has a crucial function in shaping public health and health system challenges. The Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria had success in collaborating with EHMA on EU-funded projects that has resourced us to create new health management competencies for the future workforce. In addition to all classical definitions, health management is a science dealing with individuals, groups, and society at large. It is an art contributing to the beauty of our lives and an interactive communication process at all levels of institutions and human energy. I have also had the pleasure to chair the South Eastern European Special Interest Group which gives members a space to discuss and tools to address how health systems are managed in our regions.

Prof. Todorka Kostadinova, Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria

I enjoy the high level of interaction and engagement in EHMA’s activities, in particular during the annual conference where the panel discussions are rich and well prepared. As a hospital manager and professor of health management, EHMA motivates and inspires me to be creative. You go back home feeling energised from seeing old friends and making new connections, as well as being convinced of serving as EHMA’s ambassador. It’s a strong feeling of interdisciplinary engagement, but it also feels like being part of family-like community.

Prof. Sandra C. Buttigieg, University of Malta, Malta

EHMA is a pre-eminent organisation for everyone working in planning, managing and delivering health services across Europe. As a long standing member of EHMA I have always been impressed by the vibrant community of managers, researchers and academics it has created and by the many opportunities for sharing knowledge and funding opportunities it has brought to its members. Its international scope is impressive and its impact is often felt in management and research across European and national health systems.

Prof. Axel Kaehne, Edge Hill University, UK

Health workforce has become more essential in operating, managing and maintaining health systems lately, particularly in crisis and emergency situations. European healthcare professions and the workforce need to be high on the agenda of managers and decision makers. The Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University in Hungary is a longstanding EHMA member, because it connects us with collaborators and experts, with whom we can have complex debates, from whom we can learn and at the end find solutions in various challenging fields of healthcare management.

Dr Eszter Kovács, Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University, Hungary

As a hospital administrator and health management professor, I see on a daily basis that the healthcare challenges require talented and skilled managers to transform it. the EHMA membership has been beneficial to bring healthcare management research and education to the demanding healthcare services world, promoting healthcare management competencies and knowledge creation.

Dr Alexandre Lourenco, APAH - Association of Portuguese Hospital Managers, Portugal

Many healthcare systems in Europe and beyond are facing similar challenges which require innovative and creative solutions. EHMA’s annual conference, webinars, Programme Directors’ group and other activities and resources provide incredible opportunities for networking, connecting and sharing experiences. A distinct feature of EHMA is the diversity of members with representation from many countries, sectors and different communities of practice – academic, policy-makers, practitioners, managers, leaders and students. The annual conference is a highlight in the calendar year, offering a friendly, fun and learningful environment for emerging and established members to engage, collaborate and meet up with old and new friends. I am proud to be a member of the EHMA Board.

Prof. Ann Mahon, University of Manchester, UK

Society evolution, pandemics and ageing modify health needs. So, health policies and services are to change dramatically. EHMA, through webinars, workshops and annual conference provides an excellent insight to a professional changing world, favouring closeness to management innovation and the protagonists of these changes. As a primary care services’ manager, participating in EHMA activities is really worth it and allows to involve oneself in the innovation processes.

Dr Antoni Peris Grao, Consorci Castelldefels Agents de Salut (CASAP), Spain