IT and the medication use pathway

This story first appeared in the May 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

Medication misadventure and miscommunication is one of the most serious issues in healthcare, and it has particular ramifications for the elderly. In residential aged care, the adoption of a resident-centred IT model, with a single resident profile, ensures that every step in the medication pathway is catered for, including the prescription, the documentation, the dispensing and the administering of medications.

Medication misadventure is more common in the elderly and is associated with poor health outcomes. In Australia, medication misadventure is estimated to be responsible for 15 per cent of all hospital admission, 35 per cent of unplanned hospital readmissions and to cost the Department of Health $660 million a year.

A known contributor to medication misadventure is the failure to communicate essential information. The aged care resident is particularly vulnerable to potential drug interactions, missing allergy information, miscommunication of the correct dose, or inadequate monitoring. To provide strength to an organisation’s clinical governance, IT solutions need to be secure, robust, be able to communicate and monitor medication safety and quality.

Medication miscommunication is a significant problem in the aged care industry and one which may result in over-medication, duplicated medication or omission of essential medicines. The impact on an individual resident may be profound and long-lasting.

For example, not adjusting a resident’s dose of warfarin in a timely manner can result in severe bleeding and hospital admission. This misadventure could be avoided by streamlining communication with the use of a secure messaging system to communicate between all members of the resident’s care team. While this is a potential tragedy for the individual resident and their family, it also affects staff confidence in the system they follow.

To read the full story, click here for the May 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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