Does your community need eMAR?
An electronic Medication Administration Record (eMAR) is a mobile-enabled, cloud-based system that improves medication administration efficiency, accuracy, and safety. eMAR ensures every step in the process is carried out correctly and on time, from prescribing, dispensing, and administering medication to monitoring for adverse reactions.
Medication management is important in any healthcare setting, but arguably even more crucial in senior living and long-term care (LTC) communities. Older Canadian adults living in senior care are prescribed an average of nearly ten drug classes, raising the likelihood of medication errors among the older population.
Further, considering that LTC residents often receive high-alert medications that can lead to significant resident harm if used in error, the question of whether to use eMAR or not is something every senior living caregiver in Canada should be asking.
Current Challenges in Medication Administration
Medication safety is one of the most important aspects of resident care, and every community goes to great lengths to avoid any medication administration mistake.
But mistakes happen, especially when MAR systems rely on traditional, paper-based documentation. As communities expand and resident populations grow, workflows can get more hectic, the staff becomes busier, and miscommunications, misunderstandings, and lapses in judgment can lead to mistakes. Let's look at current challenges in an LTC setting where medication administration is still a manual, handwritten process.
Traditional ways of keeping medication records take a lot of time, especially when you add up the repetitive and routine tasks a paper-based record-keeping system requires. Besides taking away valuable time that staff could use to focus on higher-order responsibilities, mundane tasks also increase the likelihood of careless errors.
Federal and provincial regulations regarding medication administration in senior care often change or are updated. A community still using paper MARs must check these manually and regularly to ensure they're not open to compliance liability.
Without a centralized system to monitor and update records in real time, it's challenging for LTC operators to ensure their records are up to date. For instance, if a resident begins to show an adverse reaction to a particular drug and that information isn't immediately reflected in the records, it may lead to further complications. Also, duplicate orders and prescriptions can occur without real-time tracking, creating potential medication errors.
Human error is a reality, even when you take every precaution. Staff can be stressed, overworked, tired, or simply distracted. Even with the best intentions, a momentary lapse in judgment can have potentially serious consequences. Medication errors resulting from human error might include:
- Giving incorrect doses
- Administering medicine late or missing a dose
- Using illegible handwriting or acting without having the most updated information
Resident well-being and health outcomes are always the top priority. Still, manual medication administration management can also be costly, especially considering the time and money it takes to train staff and the labor needed to keep meticulous handwritten records.
Benefits of Implementing an eMAR System
Implementing an eMAR system benefits senior living communities:
Improve Medication Safety
eMAR systems improve medication safety in multiple ways:
- Improve tracking of medication changes
- Provide real-time updates and alerts for missed or late medications
- Reduce medication errors through automated checks and alerts
- Eliminate duplicate medication orders through centralized tracking
- Enhance accuracy in medication administration and dosage calculations
Streamline Workflow and Efficiency
Since eMAR is an integrated system, streamlining medication management will also affect your workflow efficiency:
- Automate documentation to reduce time spent on manual record-keeping
- Allow easy access to resident information and medication histories
Enhance Communication and Collaboration
Improving the overall communication between staff, residents, operators, caregivers, and healthcare providers is the final way that eMAR systems can improve the efficiency and operations of medication management. You can achieve that by:
- Creating real-time updates
- Streamlining communication between healthcare providers, pharmacies, and care staff
- Enabling seamless coordination between different departments
- Facilitating compliance with health regulations through easy reporting and real-time recording
Questions a Senior Living Community Should Ask to Know if You Need a New eMAR System
1. Are we currently using a paper-based medication administration record system? If yes, what are the limitations and challenges associated with it?
Has your community dealt with data loss, inefficiency, or difficulty tracking medication administration? For expanding LTCs, these types of limitations and challenges begin to mount, which can lead to errors.
2. Are medication errors occurring frequently? How do these errors impact resident safety and overall quality of care?
Frequent medication errors are a major red flag in any senior care community, as these instances can compromise resident safety and care quality. If you’re experiencing errors regularly, it’s crucial to identify their causes and determine how to reduce them.
3. Are there communication gaps between senior living providers regarding medication administration, leading to potential risks or delays?
Communication gaps can lead to medication errors or delays, especially when multiple branches of the network are involved in providing care. An eMAR system can facilitate better coordination and communication between different parties.
4. Are there difficulties accessing accurate and up-to-date medication information for residents, such as allergies, drug interactions, or medication histories?
If you’ve ever had to delay administering medication because you were waiting on updated information regarding a resident’s medication history, you know the frustration of not having information updated in real time.
5. Is the current medication administration process time-consuming and prone to inefficiencies, affecting staff productivity and workflow?
Senior living staff can answer this instantly as day-to-day administrative duties and care provisions are the first people that suffer from a lack of workflow efficiency.
6. Are there compliance and regulatory concerns related to medication management, documentation, and reporting?
These questions need to be asked and double-checked every time, as a part of the routine, to prevent any oversight or error. With an eMAR system, this is done automatically.
7. Are there challenges in tracking and reconciling medication inventory, expiration dates, and reordering?
If your community has experienced medication wastage, overstocking, expiration, or inventory shortages, it may be time to investigate solutions.
8. Are there limitations in generating comprehensive reports and analytics on medication administration and adherence for quality improvement?
Comprehensive reporting enhances individual interactions and improves the overall efficiency of senior living operations by consistently providing the most complete and accurate picture of a resident’s medication administration history.
9. Are there difficulties integrating medication management with other health IT systems, such as electronic health records (EHRs) or pharmacy systems?
It’s frustrating when multiple technologies for senior living don’t work together. IT health systems such as EHRs are just as critical to resident well-being as medication management, and their integration and cross-communication are necessary for success.
10. Are there frequent instances of missing or incomplete medication administration documentation?
Missing or incomplete documentation can quickly lead to medication errors since a lack of information can be consequential in senior care.
11. Are there challenges in training staff on medication administration processes, updates, and best practices?
Continuous training and professional development are fundamental to anyone hoping to thrive in an evolving healthcare environment. Senior communities with training challenges must consider ways to circumvent their current obstacles.
12. Are there opportunities for improving communication and collaboration among senior living providers involved in medication management?
It’s critical to identify opportunities for improving communication among providers. Some communities do this effectively, while others may no longer have open lines of robust communication, potentially leading to complications in medication management.
13. Are there concerns about data security, privacy, and compliance with regulations like HIPAA concerning medication records?
Data security and compliance concerns can lead to breaches, and every senior and LTC community needs to prioritize security as more private information is digitized.
Industry-Leading eMAR From Med e-care
If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, your senior community might be ready for eMAR.
Implementing an eMAR in your senior communities improves medication safety for residents, enhances communication at all levels, and makes the overall operations of an LTC safer, smoother, and more efficient.
From the perspective of senior living communities, especially those that are expanding or intend to expand, adopting eMAR technology is probably the first step to feeling self-evident. Since eMAR is also a cost-saving solution that will bring long-term returns on investment, considering
Med e-care provides Canada's most comprehensive software specifically designed with the unique challenges of the senior living sector in mind. Our eMAR system and a full-service suite of digital solutions help Canadian LTCs maximize occupancy, retain staff, increase revenue, and, most importantly, keep every resident safe.
Call us to schedule a free demo and see if Med e-care's software solutions are right for you.