New medication management solution

A well-known aged care industry software vendor has launched its first foray into electronic medication management, ahead of the ITAC 2012 conference.

Above: AutumnCare managing director, Stuart Hope.

By Stephen Easton

Aged care software vendor, AutumnCare, has launched a new medication management application, AutumnCare Medicate, to go with the company’s existing line of clinical software packages.

AutumnCare managing director, Stuart Hope, gave a live demonstration of the new module at a launch event in Melbourne on Wednesday night, ahead of the Information Technology in Aged Care (ITAC) conference, which opened yesterday.

AutumnCare offers two comprehensive clinical solutions, Enterprise and Harmony, designed to support the management of either residential or community aged care operations, with a range of product options.

“Medication management is our latest offering to round out the suite of products,” Mr Hope said following the launch, adding that the new module was designed to be added to existing clients’ systems or included in a new deployment.

According to several presentations at ITAC, one of the biggest benefits of electronic medications management is that the program forces nurses to sign off on every drug they administer, or state why it was not given, so it can be followed up easily.

Above: Fred IT chief executive, Paul Naismith, cuts the ribbon.

“ … You can’t get out of that screen until you give a reason,” Mr Hope said. “That’s how we ensure there’s going to be less medication errors. You put the reason in why you haven’t administered it, but we also give them the option to administer it later.”

Several existing AutumnCare clients assisted in development testing of the new Medicate module, first by viewing proposed specifications and providing feedback from a clinical perspective.

“Our clients comment on these functional specifications, they tell us things that are wrong, and then we build a prototype – people can read things but until you see [the software], it’s not a reality. Our prototype was quite successful, and elicited some new ideas about the way things should work.”

The initial prototype was followed by regular “iterations” that were each reviewed again by the clinicians, leading to a large number of seemingly simple changes that make the software easier to use regularly in the workplace.

One example given at the launch was making the picture of the person receiving the medication print out on the right hand side of the page, rather than the left where it is displayed on screen, to avoid the photograph being hole-punched when the documents are stored in a ring-binder.

In another example, a clinician had pointed out that the letter ‘x’ was not a good choice to indicate a prescribed medication had not been administered, as ‘x’ was already used as a code in medication charts.

Mr Hope said the software had been developed “from an aged care provider’s point of view”, and would allow staff to arrange their medications rounds according to the location of residents, or drugs that are highly time-sensitive.

The general benefits of medication management software featured in several presentations at the ITAC conference, including one by Professor Johanna Westbrook, director of the University of New South Wales Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research, part of the Australian Institute of Health Innovation.

While most Australian residential aged care facilities do not use electronic medication management, Professor Westbrook said research in hospitals had shown an overall reduction in medication errors of roughly 60 per cent, including a reduction in serious errors of more than 40 per cent.

Some of the errors that happened in hospitals after electronic medication systems were introduced were new mistakes from misusing the new technology, Prof Westbrook added, but these were generally not as serious as those that occured with paper-based systems.

The new application was officially launched by Paul Naismith, a pharmacist and the chief executive of pharmacy software vendor Fred IT, in front of a small but influential audience that included Rod Young, CEO of Aged Care Association Australia, and Suri Ramanathan, chair of the Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council.

Tags: acaa, aciitc, it, itac, medication-management, software,

1 thought on “New medication management solution

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