Electronic medication management: How to select a system that’s right for your business

| 18 Feb 2015
Medication management

With aged care facilities administering an average of 9.75 medications per resident, it’s no wonder the use of electronic medication management software is increasing. These systems are helping aged care providers to prevent medication errors and streamline administration, with some facilities reducing medication rounds by an average of 30 minutes. In today’s blog, we share three key learnings from residential aged care providers who have previously implemented an electronic medication management system, to help ensure others considering the move select a software solution that’s right for their residents, staff and business.

Offline capability is a must have

Effective medication management systems retrieve resident information from the main system and relay it onto a mobile device, which contains prompts and alerts to greatly reduce the chance of medication errors or missed signatures during a medication round. While this is extremely effective, it is essential for resident health and safety that these devices are ready to use whenever a medication round is scheduled.

By selecting a medication management system with both online and offline capability, the mobile device will continue to display and capture medication round data, even when the facility has problems with their internet or Wi-Fi connection. Once the round has been completed and the internet connection has been restored, staff can sync the device back to the main system, ensuring resident information is always updated throughout the facility. This should be a key area of consideration for residential aged care providers – particularly those in remote and rural areas who are more likely to have internet or Wi-Fi connectivity issues – as offline capability ensures there are no disruptions to the continuity of care for residents.

Standalone systems and integrated packages

For some residential aged care providers, implementing an electronic medication management system is a major priority due to the associated risks with medication management, such as signature omissions and medication errors. As a result, it is important that aged care providers have the ability to implement a medication management system as a standalone solution, with the freedom to package it with fully integrated clinical software at a later date.

For paper based organisations looking to transition to an electronic solution, implementing medication management software first can have significant and immediate benefits without the cost of having to purchase both systems upfront. Medication management specific software also typically involves quicker implementation and training than its larger clinical counterpart, meaning facilities can experience streamlined medication rounds almost immediately. Priorities for each aged care provider are different, so it’s important that any potential software company under consideration offers both stand alone and integrated solutions. This flexibility ensures that aged care providers can choose the appropriate software to suit their business needs, even if those needs change over time.

Due diligence is key

One of the most effective ways to thoroughly research a prospective software partner is to visit one of their clients to see the software in action and speak to facility staff using it day to day. Many aged care providers have purchased a software system only to find it does not work in a way that was promised, so due diligence is essential. Visiting an organisation that is of similar size to your organisation and that uses the same dose administration aids (DAAs) is particularly helpful, as it allows providers to get a true sense of how staff use the system and helps validate whether the system will be the right fit for your organisation.

Residential aged care providers vary widely across the sector, from single site facilities to companies with over 1,000 beds across Australia. It is therefore important that aged care providers speak to a current client of a prospective software partner that is of a similar scale to their organisation. This is particularly pertinent for large organisations, as providers with multiple facilities, pharmacies and DAAs require complex processes and effective scalability; therefore visiting a single site facility will not give an accurate picture of whether the software will suit a large provider. Furthermore, large scale projects require software providers with both the experience and capability to manage the transition effectively; from change management through to the effective integration of multi-pharmacy with multiple facilities.

To ensure aged care providers have a thorough understanding of whether an electronic software system meets their organisation’s needs, we have put together a checklist of key questions to ask a current client of a prospective software partner:

1. Does your software partner allow you the choice of which DAA and pharmacy you work with?
2. Which DAAs are you using and how does the medication management system work with them?
3. Can you complete medication rounds using a mobile device even when your Wi-Fi connection is down?
4. I want to implement both a clinical and medication management solution, is it possible to implement the medication management component first?
5. Can I use the medication management software as a standalone solution, or only in conjunction with a clinical system?
6. What level of training and support was provided during the implementation process?
7. How many residential aged care beds does your software partner currently have under license for its medication management solution?

What other questions should residential aged care providers ask to ensure they select a medication management system that’s right for their business?

Tags: aged care, aged care software, medication management, medications, residential aged care, residential aged care solution, software, software provider, technology

Sophia Bolden

Communications Manager

Sophia Bolden is the Communications Manager at Telstra Health - ADCC (formerly iCareHealth). With a background in the disability and aged care sector, she brings an understanding and passion for aged care. Sophia recognises the importance of social media and online communication in relating technology and aged care news in the most effective way possible.

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