THE END OF THE PAPER DRUG CHART Implementing an electronic medications management system is a hugely complex and difficult project for the acute care sector, but one where the benefits are most quickly realised through reductions in medications misadventure. In these case studies, we look at how eMM has been rolled out at private not-for-profit Cabrini Health, tertiary facility Austin Health, metropolitan Peninsula Health, and the rural Portland Hospital.
KATE MCDONALD Journalist: Pulse+IT firstname.lastname@example.org
Acute care software specialist InterSystems recently conducted an ad hoc survey of 30 Australian hospitals that are currently deploying or are planning to implement electronic medication management (eMM) systems to see how they are faring. Most cited complexity and interoperability requirements as significant barriers to eMM implementations, with 26 public hospitals and four private hospitals reporting that while they all expected eMM to lead to increased patient safety, 60 per cent cited complexity or cost of interoperability as a significant barrier to deployment. When asked how many other systems eMM would need to interoperate with, 47 per cent of hospitals said five to 10 systems and 20 per cent said 15-20, with the average number around 12. Change management issues and difficulty in gaining clinical adoption were cited by about half of respondents as barriers, but most believed it was worth it. The benefits of eMM systems they said, were accurate, current medication lists, better drug/allergy interaction checking, convenient access to contextually relevant drug information, better medication reconciliation and improved dosage alerts.
Cabrini goes mobile with MedChart Melbourne’s Cabrini Health has very much been a pioneer in using mobile devices, having rolled out CSC’s Mobility Suite back in 2011. Through their own personal devices, Cabrini’s visiting specialists can check their patient lists and locate where their patients are, view a patient’s PACS image and result, and order and view pathology tests and results all via the webPAS patient administration system. The next stage is what could easily be described as the nirvana of hospital IT: the ability to prescribe and review medications through an iPad-optimised version of CSC’s MedChart medications management system. When radiology comes online, visiting specialists will have what is in effect a full electronic medical record in the palm of their hands. Cabrini first rolled MedChart out in its palliative care facility at Prahran and its two rehabilitation services in Elsternwick, with Brighton to go live in August and the 500-bed Malvern Hospital in November. Judith Day, Cabrini’s CFO/CIO, says the roll-out of MedChart will ultimately include integration with the hospitals’ iPharmacy system, and will in effect be a closed loop medication process.
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