Many of us have been through phases where we missed our medication doses or took the medicine incorrectly because of the complexity in following instructions given by healthcare providers.
At the point of care, dealing with the logistics of handling a variety of medicines and providing dosages to patients can sometimes be overwhelming and time-consuming. These situations cause medication errors and thus a rise in mortality rate, increased hospital stay and higher medical expenses.
A survey from the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems reported that over 80% of Chief Medical Information Officers (CMIOs) believe medication management initiatives positively impact patient safety. However, it was found that there is a 45% risk of error across all these medication management processes which could be minor with no real tangible impact on the patient. But these errors could cascade into serious errors that will put the patient at risk.
With the integration of clinical services and medication management technologies, the healthcare sector is transitioning from a paper-based medication prescription and administration model to a comprehensive medication management system.
Automation in medication management solutions and software is giving healthcare staff more face time with patients, provision of right dose of medicine to the right person at right time and increasing medication adherence for patients with overall quality of service. Assessment of patients, medication reconciliation, prescribing, dispensing and monitoring are the fundamental steps involved in these systems resulting in value-based care at reduced costs. For example, integration of electronic health records (EHR) of patients with the medication device at their bedside allows medication parameters from the EHR to be pre-populated into the device based on patient characteristics thus reducing the chances of programming errors.
Many global companies (Becton Dickenson, Omnicell, Philips, Swisslog, GE Healthcare, McKesson) have developed various types of medication management systems such as:
- Automated/robotic dispensing systems/cabinets for handling, distributing and dispensing medications and supplies in hospitals and retail pharmacies
- Medication management systems that interface and integrate with point-of-care information systems and provide rapid access to patient information and facilitate documentation
- Embedded analytics software to monitor drug diversion and avoid redundant inventory management issues
- Centrally located medication-management systems that replace or improve a manual system for filling unit dose carts
A new generation of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered (predictive analytics, machine learning) medication management systems are playing a key role in identifying and addressing the root causes of medication non-adherence. Systems that use a machine-based learning model can identify outliers in prescriptions from a pool of patients with similar characteristics and detect potential medication errors and logistics processes over time and prevent those errors from recurring. Using such AI-based systems, clinicians are also able to proactively detect potential side-effects of drug combinations or controlled substance overdoses at the prescribing stage, during medication administration and when patients move between health care settings. Leading healthcare organizations have deployed next generation analytics platforms to deliver actionable insights integrated into their EHR clinical workflows to empower their executives, clinicians, and nurses at the point of care (POC).
Patient-centric care is possible across the continuum of care with the use of these IT-integrated medication management systems that evaluate the dynamics of patients’ clinical, medication and related administrative information. A great collaboration is established between the patients, care teams, pharmacies and payers in the medication decision process.
Healthcare facilities and organizations should embrace and deploy medication management systems integrated with smart technologies as the focal point of their patient care. The ultimatum for the healthcare industry is to get the right medications to the right patients at the right time for the right condition while decreasing the burden of costs incurred.