Failing to properly administer medications can have tragic consequences. Every year in the United States, 1.3 million people are injured and 7,000 to 9,000 killed by medication errors, the 8th leading cause of death nationwide. Thankfully, advancing technology offers senior living centers ever-more-advanced options for correctly tracking and administering medication to all residents. Electronic Medication Administration Record (eMAR) software is the premiere option for ensuring seniors get the medicine they need, when they need it, and for avoiding dangerous mix-ups.
Finding the right eMAR platform was a must for Atria Kinghaven, a premiere assisted living facility in Riverview, Michigan with more than 140 units. In October of 2021, they decided on ACCUflo, now eMAR by Aline. Resident Services Coordinator Andrea Brock and Executive Director Flora Khaimov explain what made Atria Kinghaven decide to use ACCUflo and how that decision has paid off.
“Before ACCUflo came into our community, everything was done manually,” said Khaimov. “ACCUflo has definitely brought a wealth of opportunities for us to manage our residents’ medications in the most proper, accurate way, so this has been a great transition.”
The Challenges of Medication Management
Without an electronic system of any sort, it was difficult to track medication inventories. “It would take hours and hours to go through the analog MAR to see where the holes were and if anybody remembered why there was no medication,” says Brock. “We needed a system that would keep track of time limits and remind us to order more medications of which we had seven days or less remaining, and to contact physicians for prescription refills.”
Khaimov also discussed the need for consistent recordkeeping to reduce errors in counting narcotics over three shifts. “Our staffers that administer medications are not licensed professionals,” she said. “They are trained on the job. Human error is always possible. If the narcotic count is incorrect when we change shifts, we must go back and investigate what happened. Did we administer medicine off the charts, and if so, why? Was there an error in counting? We needed a platform with that feature, as well as a shift change feature to show us the number of narcotics left per resident at the end of each shift.”
Implementing an eMAR Solution
The Atria Kinghaven staff was not expecting an easy transition to all-digital medication tracking, but looking back on the process, Khaimov said, “All the anxiety leading up to going completely electronic was definitely unnecessary! We had a lot of help in training.” This was particularly important because the staff came in with different abilities in their understanding and use of technology.
According to Khaimov, “Andrea and I have a lot of longevity in this community; however, some folks are not as technologically advanced. We ran into a few roadblocks here and there, but the customer service has been great.”
She continued, “It took a little bit of time, but our transition to ACCUflo was not difficult. Everyone is happy with ACCUflo, because it helps minimize errors in managing narcotics, improves documentation, and gives us the reporting on who administered which meds.”
Highlights of a Workday with eMAR
eMAR helps the staff at Atria Kinghaven precisely schedule medications. “Just getting the medication out at the scheduled time is great,” said Brock. “ACCUflo holds us accountable, letting staff know an hour before and an hour after medications are due.” Brock also says the platform is ideal for easily refilling prescriptions and goes on to list many of the software’s other benefits. “The refill button is quite lovely. Just hitting a single button makes refills a lot easier. And ACCUflo certainly reduces the chance of medicinal error. The duplicate therapy alert pops up and tells us when two orders are the same, which is definitely a time saver. ACCUflo keeps us on track, so we do get our medication distribution done a lot quicker.”
Saving time is one of the key benefits a good eMAR solution can provide, and Aline especially excels in making senior living centers more efficient when it comes to distributing and documenting med passes. “We used to sit down and spend at least 45 minutes to chart all our medications every day. With ACCUflo, it takes just the press of a button and frees us up to be so much more productive,” Brock concludes. At the same time, the multi-pill pack barcode scanning feature saves hours distributing medications.
For her part, Khaimov finds eMAR useful for its robust reporting capabilities. “One of the features I personally like is the ‘Did Not Administer’ report. For added safety and redundancy, our company encourages us to run reports each morning to ensure that residents received their medications. I can see if and why any resident didn’t get a particular medication, and quickly resolve the lapse if necessary.”
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