Advancements in electronic medication management (eMM) systems offer powerful tools for ensuring the safety and quality of decision making. If the information and data to support clinical decisions has never been more available, why are there still challenges to implementing these tools?
The complexity of the subject
Australian hospitals where eMM systems have been implemented have indicated that this was the most complex system and process redesign project they had undertaken. EMM system implementation affects almost all the hospital’s clinical staff and many aspects of the hospital’s business. Dr Melissa Baysari, Research Fellow, Australian Institute of Health Innovation; George Davies, Global Clinical Safety Lead, CSC, and Melissa Fodera, Pharmacist and Clinical Systems Analyst, Austin Health, shared their thoughts on how electronic aids are revolutionalising the way we work and challenging us to rethink the way we do things.
As Dr Baysari remarked, “Just because we’ve been doing things in a certain way for a long time doesn’t mean that that’s the best way of doing things.”
Ms Parsotam conferred that, “We really need to think about what we’re doing, why we’re doing it now and how we can use an electronic tool to enable us to do that better”.
That said, the transition to a different way isn’t always easy and the challenge highlights why we need to bring in clinical leadership to enable this transformation. Looking specifically at whether we should replicate paper chart electronic systems, Mr Davies commented that although the move from the familiar pen-and-paper system to an electronic system can represent a high degree of difficulty, there are a number of considerable advantages to taking “this leap” into harnessing the tools offered by technology.
Medication errors and alerts
Of all medication errors, omission or overdose of medicines occurs most frequently. While reducing all errors would significantly improve patient safety and the quality use of medicines, one of the most contentious issues to emerge from the 2014 conference was the challenge of alerts fatigue. However, is this a reflection of the design and/or the user of eMM systems?
The video below highlights Dr Baysari, Ms Parsotam and Mr Davies’ further thoughts on customisation, balance and review of alerts.
As Ms Parsotam observed, “watch this space” for the updates from the 2015 eMedication Management Conference on the research findings and experience of those rolling eMM projects across Australia.