If you have decided to make the switch to electronic medication records (eMAR), you may feel a bit overwhelmed and most likely have a lot of questions. It can be an intimidating transition but asking the right questions can give you clarity and peace of mind. There are many vendors out there and the market is constantly expanding. Asking important questions and getting the answers you need is essential in your search to find the best fit for your community.
- Why go electronic?
- How is medication information added to the program?
- Will it work with my pharmacy?
- Will it help me remain compliant?
- What if my staff are not computer savvy?
WHY GO ELECTRONIC?
Well, first and foremost you may be wondering why you should make the switch in the first place. As you know, there are a lot of things you need to keep track of daily. If you are doing that on paper, it adds up! Not only is reducing paper better for the environment and your budget, but it also reduces your risks too. All that paperwork needs to be stored properly in a secure, safe place. If the wrong people get access to certain documents, you are looking at a major HIPAA breach. Not only that, but if the documents get misplaced or improperly disposed of, you can get in some serious trouble! Having all of your documentation in one place makes it easy to find everything you need, you have complete control over who has access to what, and you won’t have to stress over the possibility of paperwork getting destroyed or misplaced.
HOW IS MEDICATION INFORMATION ADDED TO THE PROGRAM?
Manual data entry is time-consuming and can cause room for human error. It is important to look for an automated system that offers pharmacy integration. With pharmacy integration, you eliminate the need for staff to transcribe orders, as they are coming directly from your pharmacy. With a simple review to verify what is on the computer matches what you have on-hand, you can confirm your medical records are accurate. Having a connection with your pharmacy also ensures that all medications are up to date. As medications change, the pharmacy sending over real-time updates helps to eliminate the risk of improperly administering a dose. If you can reorder medications from the pharmacy electronically, even better! A quick refill request from the pharmacy can help reduce the chance of a serious medication error.
WILL IT WORK WITH MY PHARMACY?
As you know, having a solid relationship with a pharmacy is very important when it comes to resident care and more specifically, administering medications. If you’ve established a great relationship with your pharmacy, the last thing you’d want to do it switch to a new one; One that may or may not provide the same services you’ve grown accustom to and most likely require. Choosing an eMAR vendor that can connect to your existing pharmacy is not only convenient, but it eliminates the need to make another change during an already substantial transition. If you work with more than one pharmacy, finding a company that can connect to multiple pharmacies is another important factor to consider.
WILL IT HELP ME REMAIN COMPLIANT?
There are a lot of rules and regulations to follow in the assisted living industry. Every state and license type are different and on top of that, each resident has their own specific needs. It is crucial that all staff are aware and abide by these guidelines in their daily duties. Staff need to be familiarize themselves with a resident’s current and previous medication history to provide proper care. If they can review these details with a couple clicks of a button, it will not only save their time handling medications, but it can also give them assurance that they are handling each order properly. Safeguards that require staff to answer specific questions relating to an order, record vitals, and even remind staff when they are running behind are great ways to reduce errors and remain compliant.
Depending on the types of medications you administer, you may also want to consider if the program has a controlled substance count feature. Handling these drugs properly is critical; a simple mistake can lead to large consequences. Having a system in place that can hold your staff accountable and allow you to investigate circumstances quickly and thoroughly will give you the confidence you need, knowing your staff are handling medications properly.
WHAT IF MY STAFF ARE NOT COMPUTER SAVVY?
Staff training can be time consuming and difficult. Every person has their own unique way of learning; some may catch on right away and others may need some more assistance, and who knows how long they may stick around. Staff turnover is a huge hurdle that many communities experience. The main goal is to provide the best care possible to every resident and going through hours of extensive training only takes time away from your residents. This is why it’s important to look for a program that is easy to use and doesn’t have a complex onboarding process. Some vendors have built in training materials or offer one-on-one training to ensure that you feel comfortable using their product.
From day one, Extended Care Professional (ECP) has strived to provide assisted living communities with the best quality eMAR program possible. By using the user-friendly tools in ECP, communities have been able to improve communication, reduce risk, operate efficiently, and provide outstanding care. With years of experience working closely with hundreds of pharmacies, ECP has become one of the top leading eMAR vendors in the country. If you are ready to make the switch to an eMAR, ECP may just be the solution you have been looking for.
Extended Care Professional (ECP) is an EHR (electronic health record), eMAR (electronic medication administration record), and clinical charting system for long-term care communities. ECP offers customizable assessments that automatically create care plans, State-specific compliance and reporting, and a leading pharmacy interface connected to the top pharmacy software systems. You’ll experience improved productivity, level of care and compliance as soon as you start using ECP, whether you are switching from another software provider or paper documentation.