Almost 70% of care home residents have experienced at least one error in their medication regime (1). Omnicell UK & Ireland, a leading provider of medication adherence packaging and automated healthcare solutions, has launched a new automated medication management system that will help tackle this serious issue by reducing the risks associated with using a paper medication administration record (MAR) sheet in a managed care home.
Omnicell eMAR automates the entire medication management and administration process making it safe, simple and compliant for everyone involved. The system, gathers information, provides prompts and accurate instructions for staff and gives managers real time medication administration data at the touch of a button so they can be sure that the right dose has been administered at the right time to the right resident.
Residents in care homes take an average of 7.2 medicines per day (2), with each additional medicine comes an increased risk of errors in prescription, monitoring, dispensing or administration, adverse drug reactions, impaired medicines adherence and compromised quality of life for patients (3). CQC’s annual state of care report found that safety was the biggest concern with one of the main factors being poor medicines management.
With Omnicell eMAR, each individual medication is identified through a bar code applied in pharmacy, which can then be tracked at all stages from check in at the care home to administration to the resident, to unused items which are disposed of or returned to the pharmacy. The system uses on screen photograph identification, provides important medical history for each patient and includes a simple alert and verification system to minimise the risk of medication administration errors in the home. The benefits of the system have already been realised by a number of retail pharmacies including Rowlands Pharmacy who are now offering the Omnicell eMAR service to all its care home customers.
CQC inspections are much easier for care homes with Omnicell eMAR as the system provides a clear audit trail and peace of mind that all resident medication has been administered safely through easy to follow processes for all staff, with the system mitigating compliance risks and providing accurate information in the event that medication is not administered and providing a clear reason as to why.
In addition, the system has a ‘carried forward’ feature which allows homes to use up medication from a previous cycle rather than throwing it away – helping to tackle large scale problem of medication wastage here in the UK. Medication wastage in England costs the NHS £300m each year, £50m of this is medicine disposed of by care homes (4). With Omnicell eMAR, a simple stock report shows how much stock needs to be ordered, avoiding the risk of surplus or low stock.
Paul O’Hanlon, Managing Director for Omnicell comments; “At Omnicell, we’re delighted to be launching the latest in eMAR technology. This automated medication management system will help to drive efficiencies, reduce unnecessary medication wastage and improve patient safety in UK care homes. At Omnicell, this is something we’re passionate about. With the eMAR system, the nursing staff are informed of which medication is required by each resident, the correct dose and the time it is due – reducing the risk of medication errors. The time staff spend checking in drugs when they arrive from the pharmacy is also significantly reduced and this time can be redirected back into face to face resident care, helping to achieve the ultimate goal of improved care.
“At Omnicell we don’t just sell you a system, we pride ourselves on providing everything that is needed to help integrate the system in to the care home and work in partnership with care and nursing teams from the outset. Our initial training is designed to leave staff feeling confident in their new system and left assured that we provide ongoing support every step of the way.”