The Need for Medication Management
Hospitals and healthcare facilities are constantly grappling with medication management to ensure safe medication practices and use. With approximately 5 percent of hospitalized patients experiencing medication errors, it’s a serious risk factor for patient safety and facility financial viability.
Medication errors can come in all forms, from the wrong or expired medications and/or dosages being administered to preventable adverse drug events. In fact, adverse drug events account for an an estimated one in three of all hospital adverse events and prolong hospital stays by up to 4.6 days, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
One of the biggest issues with medications is the sheer volume of them that continue to flood the market. Understanding all of the different names, brands, classes, formulations, strengths dosing instructions, and interactions is complex, time-consuming and unfortunately, error-prone. Even the most experienced pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and nurses can make mistakes.
Complicating matters is the patient’s history and current medical issue. If patient records aren’t complete or thoroughly reviewed, physician’s prescriptions aren’t written or read correctly, or the patient’s situation isn’t fully understood, errors are bound to happen. The wrong medications could be administered. The patient may suffer an adverse drug event. The medication may interfere or contradict other medications the patient is taking. These errors can prolong illnesses, cause harm and even death.
In order for medication management to be efficient, reliable, and effective, it is imperative that hospitals and healthcare facilities have an integrated system with strict protocols. The physician, nurse, pharmacist, and patient must all be on the same page. The proper use of the right technology is critical, where patient records are integrated with other systems, such as drug reference software in order for medication reconciliation to take place. There must be checks and balances. There must be a system in place to protect medications from getting into the wrong hands. Ultimately, it’s about ensuring the right medications make it to the right patients at the right time.
Talon provides hospitals and healthcare facilities with an integrated system of innovative medication and inventory control products that immediately improve medication management. MedKey software is available on select configurations of our MedCab automated dispensing cabinets and provides secure and convenient access to medications and medical supplies.
Medication cabinets that only store medication is no longer enough. Hospitals need more. They need technology-enabled cabinets that not only store medications but provide many other benefits. We’ve put together a list of five of the top reasons why so many hospitals and healthcare facilities are investing in Talon MedCabs with MedKey software:
1. Access Management
One of the first things hospitals and healthcare facilities must tackle with medication management is security. Only authorized staff should be able to access patient medications. This protects inventory, reduces the potential for drug diversion, and maximizes patient safety.
MedKey allows access via password login, magnetic strip cards, barcode scans, proximity cards, touch screens, or keypad. Adjacent cabinets can be linked so authorized staff can access multiple cabinets from a single screen. Additionally, a series of cabinets can be locked or unlocked simultaneously. All of these features give hospitals and healthcare facilities flexibility without compromising security.
2. Patient Safety
The end goal for medication management is to ensure patient safety and foster positive patient outcomes. When MedKey is integrated in a Talon automated dispensing cabinet, the patient, doctors, and nurses have peace of mind that medications are being dispensed accurately. The MedKey software automatically records medications dispensed to each patient and that information can be linked instantly with multiple hospital systems, including those used by the pharmacy. Pharmacy can track medications and provide verification of proper medication dispensing.
Medication can be quickly identified using barcode scanning, minimizing the risk for the wrong medication being given to the patient. The software also keeps track of drug expiration dates of the stored medications to prevent expired medications that may have lost efficacy to be administered to the patient.
3. Inventory Control
One of the biggest expenses for hospitals is keeping bulk medications in stock. The MedKey software tracks inventory value, expiring medications, restock levels, and more, providing customized reporting to help facilities manage their medications. This greatly reduces cost and ensures medications are well-stocked for standard and emergency use and available to care authorized caregivers at all times.
4. Integrated Record Keeping
Modern medication management involves multiple systems and all must be integrated in order to drive efficiency, patient safety, and financial responsibility. Errors happen when information is missing or disconnected.
MedKey offers Health Level 7 (HL7) connectivity with Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems and interfaces with accounting, Electronic Medication Administration Records (eMAR), patient records, billing and inventory systems. This gives hospitals and healthcare facilities a more comprehensive picture of the entire patient journey, from admission to discharge. The patient is at significantly lower risk for medical mistakes, particularly when it comes to medication errors.
5. Drug Diversion Prevention
Drug diversion is a serious problem in hospitals and healthcare facilities. The International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety Foundation (IAHSS Foundation) defines drug diversion as “the unlawful distribution or use of prescription drugs in any manner not intended by the prescriber.” Many of the most sought-after drugs are found in hospitals, such as opioids. Addiction is the primary cause of controlled substance diversion among healthcare professionals who either sell the drugs for profit or use them themselves.
MedKey software keeps an electronic record of every medication that is accessed from the MedCab, who accessed them, and when they were accessed. This audit trail not only serves as a deterrent but provides evidence should an event occur. Hospitals and outpatient facilities are better able to manage drug diversion, solve the crimes, and prosecute offenders if desired.
Talon also offers a lighter version of our MedKey software. MedKey Lite is available on select configurations of our MedCab and MedCart products. The difference between the two software options is that MedKey Lite is used primarily for access control and does not integrate with other hospital systems or provide inventory control. Like MedKey, MedKey Lite does provide access reports of who opened the cart and when, which bins were opened, and when the cart was locked.
Patient safety is still enforced, only in other ways. Individual locking bins can only be opened by authorized personnel and only one bin at a time may be opened. User access is highly customized, enabling the facility to grant access at different levels for unlimited users. Anyone without proper authorization will not be able to access the cabinet or cart equipped with MedKey Lite, eliminating the risk for drug diversion.
For hospitals who are looking for relatively inexpensive ways to protect their supply of medications, their patients, and their reputations, medication cabinets and carts equipped with MedKey or MedKey Lite software may be the answer. Both products take the basic medication cabinet to the next level, providing more than medication storage. In fact, these smart cabinets and carts bring multiple benefits to any hospital workflow, extending their usefulness and delivering exceptional return on investment.