Medication Management systems – Adult children face a difficult decision when choosing an assisted living environment for a parent in need. Finding a community that offers a comfortable, homelike setting, along with one that addresses safety and medical needs is extremely important. Technology advancements have greatly improved the management of both delivered and self-administered medication for seniors.
Electronic Medical Administration Record (eMAR)
Electronic medication administration records (eMAR) is a software program that uses bar coding technology to submit and fill medication prescriptions. The system uses hand-held scanners that read bar codes and utilize Bluetooth wireless technology to transmit drug data to a terminal. The information is relayed to the pharmacy and then connected to nursing stations. With this technology, nursing staff are assured that they have the right patient with the right medication. The eMAR system manages prescription data including medication classification, types, dosages, number of refills and patient refill history. The system also utilizes real-time prescription status tracking.
Electronic Prescribing (e-Scribe)
The technology of e-Scribe is being used more frequently with both physicians and pharmacies in providing improved medication management. This software program uses paperless prescriptions that allow pharmacists to process prescriptions electronically. Using e-Scribe technology makes it possible for pharmacies to effectively monitor patient medication status. With e-Scribe, physicians can also directly enter and change prescriptions as needed, including medication dosage and schedule, without needing to call or fax orders to the pharmacy. The result is a faster response time and reduced errors that are common when paper prescriptions are used.
Automated Dispensing Carts and Cabinets
Another advancement that helps to improve the safety and efficacy of medication administration is the use of both automated dispensing cabinets and carts. Cabinets provide computer-controlled storage, tracking, dispensing and documentation of medication distribution. Carts provide the same medication security features but are also portable to be used by the bedside of patients. Automated dispensing units contain drawers that lock electronically to secure medication, further ensuring patient safety. Along with improving safety, implementing automated dispensing units aids in accountability of medication inventory and supports improved efficiency with billing processes.
Self-Administered Medication Support
For seniors who are able to take their medication independently, there is newer technology to support their continued autonomy in carrying out this important task. In regard to self-administered medication, there are devices such as multi-alarm watches and pill boxes that provide reminder alerts to help seniors take their medication at the correct time. Talking pill bottles are another technological advancement to support self-administration of medication for patients. With these devices, providers can record a message about specific medication instructions. The instructions can be played back as a helpful tool to assist with independent medication management for seniors.
Currently there are many important innovations in technology being utilized to improve medication management for seniors. These useful tools facilitate increased accuracy, efficiency and overall safety of medication management for patients. When families are faced with the decision to seek an assisted living community for seniors, an important consideration is its use of advanced medication management to best ensure resident health and safety.