Little Company of Mary Health Care, Calvary
Client:Little Company of Mary Health Care, Calvary
- To replace current paper based medication management processes with electronic medication management for greater safety, reliability and efficiency.
- Calvary selected the CSC MedChart electronic medication management system to provide electronic prescribing, pharmacy review and administration for in-patient wards.
- Following implementation at Calvary Health Care Bethlehem in 2011, chart illegibility issues were eliminated,
- The palliative care service recorded an 84% reduction in medication errors.
- Early results at Clare Holland House, also a palliative care provider, show similar improvements in medication safety and increased efficiency.
There is now well-established evidence for the superiority of electronic medication management over paper-based systems. Professor Johanna Westbrook of the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, a leading researcher in the field has demonstrated what anecdotal evidence had long suggested – that replacing paper with an electronic medication management systems (eMMS) not only reduces costs, but it also helps prevent adverse drug events (ADEs).
Australian hospitals have been slow to adopt eMMS. However, as Westbrook notes in her research, “the momentum for uptake is unstoppable." Now Calvary, an Australian healthcare provider with more than 11,000 staff and volunteers is forging ahead. “Even in its early days we recognised the potential of MedChart” says Doran. “When technology finally caught up with it, in terms of tablet computers and reliable wireless internet, we knew it was time to leave our paper systems behind and move to an eMMS.”
While Bethlehem had been a ‘test run’ for MedChart, Clare Holland House was intended to provide a model for future implementations. As such, the project team lead by Karen Caldwell and Jane Etchells, worked to develop an implementation strategy that emphasised training for all Clare Holland House staff. In September 2014, for example, experienced ‘super users’ from Bethlehem visited Clare Holland House, where they addressed staff concerns and offered clinical perspectives to articulate key end user benefits’. Caldwell and her colleagues used these sessions to develop training manuals that could be used in future courses.
As a component of local customization, the project team was able to build commonly used protocols and create rules to display local guidelines, both initiatives assisting clinical staff with safer and more efficient medication management. For nurses, the ward overview monitor function in MedChart greatly enhanced, in real-time, the visibility of medication administration status for every patient – thus avoiding late or missed doses.
Following introduction of MedChart at Bethlehem in 2011, an immediate benefit was the elimination of illegible orders. Staff no longer needed to decipher poor hand writing or search for medication charts. Not only has this saved time, but it has also contributed to an 84% reduction in medication errors.5 Early evidence from Clare Holland House shows a similar pattern of error reduction and improved clinical workflows.
According to the pharmacist at Clare Holland House, MedChart has already improved efficiency. “We can now streamline the supply process, ensuring that the right medications are ready when patients require them,”. An additional benefit is the eMMS’s ability to integrate medication ordering processes with information from the government’s pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS). This ensures that whenever possible generic medications are used instead of more expensive brand-named alternatives.