Home Care Provider Embraces Tech, Cuts Med Errors 80%

A nonprofit home health care provider dramatically reduced its medication error rate through the implementation of a technology-driven medication management program, according to a new study.

Coon Rapids, Minn.-based Epiphany Senior Living was able to slash its medication/treatment error rate by 84.7% between 2013 and 2014, according to a recently released case study by The LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST).

The case study is one of four released by CAST, which reveal how medication management technology solutions are working for long-term and post-acute care providers. The case studies are part of the recently updated CAST Medication Management portfolio.

Epiphany’s medication/treatment error rate for 2013 was 0.072%. It fell to 0.011% in 2014—and Epiphany is trending toward a lower rate for 2015, CAST says. The study focused on the implementation of the Electronic Medication Administration Record (EMAR) within the EHR of Epiphany’s licensed home care program.

Epiphany also offers independent living, assisted living and memory care residences. 

The company adopted and implemented the EMAR software module within Eldermark Software with the goal of reducing medication error rates, among other goals, CAST says.

“Implementing the EMAR technology provided a real-time direct electronic connection to the primary pharmacy vendor,” CAST explains. “Physician-orders for medications were sent directly to the pharmacy enabling the pharmacy to complete the order in the EMAR and port the complete order data to the EHR for review and acceptance by the on-site clinician.”

Once the medication order is accepted by the on-site clinician, the medication order is sent directly to the Medication Administration Record and to the medication pass schedule for caregivers.

Current policies and procedures related to medication administration practices were reviewed for workflow changes and gaps. Updates were incorporated into the workforce EMAR training prior to implementation. 

In addition to helping reduce the medication error rate, the EMAR enhanced caregiver accountability and enhanced regulatory compliance.

“Introducing technology into processes that have been historically paper-based requires a significant culture change for many care providers,” CAST says. “Creating a supportive and safe technology-embracing culture throughout the workforce helps achieve a smooth and successful transition to any new technology implemented. “

Read the case study here.

Written by Cassandra Dowell