Selecting The Best Senior Living eMAR Software for Your Community
Few tasks consume as much of the senior living staff’s mental energy and time as dispensing medications. Many residents have complicated medication regimes that can change frequently. Thus, it can be challenging to keep track of which person has started a new prescription, whose dosage has doubled, and so on. If your staff still relies on paper records to administer the correct medications, you’re exposing your residents and community to unnecessary risk. It’s time to invest in trustworthy senior living eMAR software.
An eMAR (electronic Medication Administration Record) is pivotal software for improving medication management and ensuring resident safety. Senior living professionals can feel confident that they always have the most up-to-date information, reducing the risk of medication errors. But how can you pick the best eMAR for your community, especially if you don’t know much about software? This guide reviews essential features to look for in an eMAR and factors to aid your decision-making.
Assessing Community Needs and Requirements
Evaluating your community’s needs is the first step to finding the perfect eMAR. Here are three factors to consider:
Medication Challenges in the Community
Pinpointing weaknesses in your current system can help you figure out what you need from an eMAR. Does your community constantly face inventory shortages because refills don’t get ordered on time? Do staff occasionally overlook medication changes or mix up similar-looking pills? An eMAR can solve all these issues.
Scope and Size of Your Medication Management System
It’s crucial to consider the number of residents you serve and the amount of medication your staff dispenses in an average week. A large organization with hundreds of residents may need a high-powered eMAR with ample cloud storage space, while a cozy assisted living community with 15 seniors could make do with a simpler option.
Regulatory and Compliance Requirements
Governments and accrediting organizations often have strict regulations for administering and documenting medications. An eMAR can help your organization comply with regional or changing standards.
Key Features to Consider
When shopping for an eMAR, it can be tricky to distinguish between must-haves and nice-to-haves. Look for software that includes these essential features:
- A user-friendly interface that staff can easily use with basic training
- Comprehensive medication tracking and administration functionalities
- Integration capabilities with other software systems, like electronic health records
- Customization options to accommodate your community’s specific needs
- Reporting and analytics capabilities for monitoring medication-related data
- Offline syncing capabilities so staff can still access records during an emergency or simply in a corner of the building with poor wifi
Ensuring Data Security and Compliance
Senior living communities have an ethical and legal duty to keep sensitive health information private and secure. An eMAR software should include the latest data security measures and encryption protocols. For example, secure cloud storage lets senior living communities share health data safely with healthcare providers and hospitals.
You should also select an eMAR solution that complies with all relevant privacy regulations, like Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and the United States' Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Additionally, look for a program with audit trail functionality. This feature lets you track and generate reports about medication administration histories so that you can maintain thorough records.
Many assisted living organizations delay getting an eMAR because they’re concerned about the cost. But this technology can be affordable for organizations of all sizes. Be sure to account for these considerations as you research software:
Some vendors use a subscription-based model for eMAR, while others have per-bed pricing. A subscription license often has a lower upfront cost, making this option a popular choice for small senior living communities. By contrast, per-bed pricing charges a set fee per resident. So, the cost increases as your organization grows. Your community’s size and budget can help you determine the best model.
Many vendors offer extra services for an additional cost. For instance, you could pay to have a team set up your new software, train your staff, and provide 24/7 technical support. These services could be worth the expense because they ease the transition to new software.
Evaluate Return on Investment
eMAR vendors can help you calculate their software’s potential return on investment. For instance, your staff’s efficiency may skyrocket once they no longer have to triple-check paper medication records, and you can avoid costly fines that may result from medication errors or lack of compliance.
Seeking Input from Staff and Pharmacists
Many people will interact with eMAR routinely, including senior living professionals and pharmacists. Consulting with key stakeholders during decision-making ensures that you choose the system that best serves your community.
Involving staff members in the decision-making process
An excellent eMAR platform that fits your community’s needs can significantly reduce staff burnout and workloads. Conversely, a poorly chosen eMAR can lead to frustration, low staff morale, and even dangerous mistakes. For instance, staff may get annoyed by a confusing user interface or overlook medication reminders if the system doesn’t send push notifications.
You can make an informed decision by collecting feedback about different eMAR systems from the staff who will use the software daily. Ask them about the features they want to prioritize and potential issues they foresee with each program. You can schedule demonstrations with vendors. So, staff members can test the software and give more specific feedback.
Considering the needs and preferences of your pharmacy in medication management
A good eMAR will also integrate with your primary pharmacy to simplify or automate communication and medication orders. Most pharmacies in Canada are integrated with the Med e-care eMAR but it’s a good idea to consult with your primary pharmacy. They might have a preferred eMAR solution they would recommend or they may be able to integrate with whatever option your community chooses to use.
The Importance of Selecting the Best eMAR Software for Senior Living Communities
Implementing eMAR software can improve every aspect of medication management, from inventory monitoring to regulatory compliance. Most importantly, eMAR also keeps residents safe from medication errors, which can occur in even the best-run senior living organizations without safeguards. However, it’s essential to thoroughly research your options to ensure that you pick the best software for your community and medication management operations.
Protect Your Residents With eMAR Software From Med e-care
Med e-care’s reliable eMAR software offers innovative features like Pop & Dot medication tracking and advanced syncing capabilities. This platform improves resident care and safety by ensuring that older adults always get the correct medication on the proper schedule. Plus, this eMAR software streamlines staff workloads by eliminating paper documentation and enabling fast refill orders. Contact us today to book your free demonstration.
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