eMAR, or electronic medication administration record is the electronic versions replacing paper records previously used in many healthcare facilities. Both of these medication administration records serve as a legal record of all of the drugs administered to each patient at a community by a healthcare professional. These administrations are then part of the patient’s permanent record on their medical chart. It is essential for the patients’ health that this record is accurate and updated regularly.
There are several advantages to using eMAR systems. The electronic medication administration records are linked directly to pharmacy software. When the pharmacy submits an order for a new prescription, it automatically appears on the computer screen at the community once it has been reviewed and approved by a pharmacist. eMAR systems also serve as another route of communication between the communities and the pharmacy. Messages can be sent instantly, and medication reorders may be submitted through this system.
eMAR systems help to make medication administration more efficient. The simple systems allow for faster med passes at the communities, ensuring each resident gets their medications on time. They also enable communities to quickly check-in the cycles for their residents once delivered from the pharmacy. This guarantees each resident receives all of their scheduled medications and allows the nurses to devote more time to patient care. The nurses are also able to reorder PRN, or “as needed,” medications promptly, so the patient never goes without a medication that they need.
eMAR offers nurses a list of residents at the community (often based on nursing station, floor, etc.). After choosing a resident, the list of all medications to be given appears on the computer screen. Nurses can then begin administering drugs, verifying the screen info with the drugs from the cart, then documenting the completed administration in eMAR.
Many pharmacies today, including Mac’s LTC Pharmacy Solutions, are taking patient safety a step further by utilizing barcode eMAR technology. This technology ensures the correct medication is administered in the correct dose, at the correct time, to the correct patient. Before administering medicine, nurses scan the barcode on the patient’s wristband, chart, etc. and then the barcode on the medication itself. If the two don’t match the approved order, or if it is not the time for the next dose, a warning is issued.
eMAR improves medication administration accuracy, ultimately improving resident safety. Use of these systems results in fewer errors and fewer late or missed medications. According to research in the New England Journal of Medicine, implementing barcode linked eMAR was associated with a 41% reduction in non-timing administration errors, 51% reduction in potential drug-related adverse events from those errors, and 27% reduction in timing errors. eMAR allows nurses to set scheduled reminders, flag recent medication changes and alerts them when medications times are due.
eMAR systems are a great addition to the latest healthcare technology. eMAR informs nurses of all medications to be given in an organized manner, improves communication between facility staff and pharmacy, and reduces the opportunity for medication errors.