Whether it is in a hospital, nursing home, or retirement home setting, the maintenance of medication administration records (MAR) is extremely important. To preserve the health and safety of patients, it is important to maintain error-free records. While most medical facilities have been following this procedure, the increasing potential for errors is leading them to strongly consider using computerized records i.e., eMAR. Misplaced records, illegible handwriting, inefficient processing, as well as unclear instructions on paper records, can lead to a number of medication administration errors including wrong dosage.
MARs are especially important in the case of long-term medical treatment, in addition to adverse drug events. Some of the most prominent causes for mistakes in handwritten records include omission of medication, wrong timing and dosage, administering unauthorized medications in the wrong form or route. It was also recently established in many nursing homes and retirement homes that most historical drug related errors could have been prevented with the right processing and maintenance of MARs. Owing to the dangers of relying on paper records, electronic medication administration records are now the preferred method of practice.
How can eMAR make a difference?
The importance of accurate medication administration simply cannot be overstated. Across the continuum of care, facilities of all types are turning to electronic medication administration record systems (eMAR) for improved workflow and reduction of medication errors. Patient safety is paramount. With the right computerized system comes the elimination of misplaced records, unclear instructions, and the illegible handwriting issues that can lead to administering an incorrect dosage or type of medication.
The flow of physician orders and medications between the facility and their pharmacy partner is also enhanced through use of automated interfaces that allow for real-time information exchange and significant time savings for labour intensive activities such as medication inventory management. eMAR can help the nursing staff follow and achieve the 'five rights' of medication administration. These 'five rights’ include right medication, right resident, right time, right dose, and right route.
Additionally, what sets eMAR apart from paper-based record systems is its versatility. Depending on the dynamic operational needs of hospitals, nursing and retirement homes, customized medication administration records can be introduced which provide a quick, efficient, and real time response directly saving time at each medication pass. With an easy to follow user interface, the nursing staff can quickly access patient information and administer medication without the risk or concern of making an error. With easy navigation and quick results, eMAR can be customized differently for long-term patients as well as acute care and emergency situations.
Apart from being quick, efficient, and space saving, electronic medication administration records are cost-efficient, long lasting, and robust. They can be updated and amended regularly to suit the unique needs of the retirement home as well as the comfort of the nursing staff. Access to historical administration information can also be accessed with a single click in a report or onscreen view. A successful eMAR system can save retirement homes thousands of dollars by preventing any avoidable accident or mishap owing to incorrect administration of medication.
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