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place at the aged care facility.
"Even though everyone
is used to IT these days,
implementing new systems is
something that needs to be
well planned and managed,"
Coghill believes transitioning
to a computerised system is
as much about the training of
staff as it is the IT systems,
because staff need to be
confident using the systems to
ensure safe practices.
"Each of the vendors will
provide their own training
and IT support. But from an
organisation point of view,
the owner or manager of the
aged care facility must ensure
that their policies reflect the
practices within the facility.
"This is what the
accreditation agency will always
verify, if the aged care facility
staff aren't complying with the
policies, then the facility will be
non-compliant," she says.
also need the supporting
documentation available for
reference at the operational
areas or there can be real
problems, she says.
Coghill says education
needs to be a major part
of the solution. She says
her company's approach
includes online training and
competencies for all nurses
and carers in medication
Having the training courses
available online enables self-
paced learning 24-hours a day
- the best option for a sector
with staff working around the
clock, she says.
"Staff can do some very
simple training modules online
and at any time, they can
review a record of what training
they have previously done.
"We train every staff
member that's involved in any
aspect of medication at aged
care facilities to ensure that
staff are compliant in all aspects
of medication management."
Keryn Coghill suggests
investigating some of the
newer mobile computing
solutions on the market and
considering options such as
'cloud computing', where
you don't have to purchase
expensive hardware and
management systems use
mobile computing devices,
such as the iPad and iPhone,
linked to a web-based solution
and the data is available on the
web 24/7. n
THE ANATOMY OF ERRORS
Different types of medication errors are reported when
electronic medication management systems are introduced
compared to traditional pen and paper methods, according
to findings of an Australian study published in February in the
Journal of Clinical Nursing.
Dr Bernice Redley and Professor Mari Botti from Deakin
University's School of Nursing and Midwifery analysed and
compared incident reports from two hospital sites of a single not-
for-profit private provider.
They found that omission was the most common medication
error type reported at the site using a pen and paper system. It
accounted for 33 per cent of mistakes.
However, at the site which introduced a computerised
medication management system, the most common error type was
wrong documentation, which occurred in 24 per cent of incidents.
Problems such as omission, wrong drug, wrong dose,
strength or frequency, quantity, and wrong route were less
frequent at the electronic management site, it found.
Overall most medication mistakes were reported at the nurse
administration stage of delivery (72 per cent) followed by the
prescribing stage (16 per cent), according to the results. The
proportion of errors at the prescribing phase was higher where
the electronic system was used, which also had less nurse
As a result, the researchers recommend additional support
for physician prescribing practices when transitioning to an IT
medication management system.
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