The safe and accurate administration of medication is one of the cornerstones of the aged care system.
Appropriate systems and strategies for ensuring that the correct medications are given in the prescribed amounts, at the correct times, and to the right people, are a key factor in the trust that residents and their families place in nursing homes.
In this day and age, when our lives are becoming increasingly automated in so many ways, it may come as a surprise to some to learn that many nursing homes still use paper-based medication systems – creating the potential for numerous problems for GPs working in the field.
Dr Dilhan Mendis, General Practitioner, said the phone order process is one of the biggest hurdles doctors face when working in aged care.
“The main problem, compared to online systems, is the phone order process,” he said.
Dr Mendis explained that when patients need a medication prescribed, nurses either call or fax through a request.
The doctor then has to write the prescription, and fax it back.
When the GP next visits the nursing home, they also have to find and update medication charts. The paperwork involved with manual medication systems takes away time that aged care staff, including doctors, can spend caring for residents.
“It’s a lot of paperwork with the paper system, whereas with the online system, you log in and just enter the information,” Dr Mendis said.
‘A single source of truth’ for medication information
Automated medication systems are rapidly becoming the norm, and Best Health Solution’s BESTdoctor program is a key example.
BESTdoctor enables GPs to review and update aged care medication charts from anywhere and anytime, on any device with an internet connection.
A cloud-based medication management platform, that delivers aged care providers with a ‘single source of truth’ for aged care resident’s medication profiles.
The automated system helps doctors, nursing homes and pharmacists deliver safer, more transparent and efficient medication management.
Dr Mendis said one of the most helpful features of BESTdoctor is that it checks medication dosages.
“Unlike the online system, the paper system doesn’t check the dosage for us, and also the handwriting can cause errors for some people,” he said.
It has all the medications pre-registered so you can’t make a spelling mistake or add the wrong product, he said. Drop-down menus contain prefilled doses, making it virtually impossible to make a medication error.
Dr Mendis said being able to see all the medications a resident is taking on the one screen is also very useful.
“Increases the efficiency of the whole process”
Dr Mendis said he would recommend BESTdoctor to other GPs working in aged care.
“It increases the efficiency of the whole process between doctors, nursing home, nurses and the pharmacy,” he said.
It means medication is administered more quickly. When doctors prescribe a medication, the pharmacy starts making it instantly, and the nurses have it on their system so they administer it as soon as it’s ready, he said.
The system also reduces the risk of error due to handwriting and wrong doses, he said.
With the “vast majority” of GPs already using electronic systems in their practices, notes are already being typed digitally, Dr Mendis said. It’s good to be able to type notes and then switch over to the BESTdoctor screen and enter the doses for any new medication at the same time, he said.
“It makes the experience of the GP working in nursing homes better,” he said.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Best Health Solutions website.