Embracing innovation: How clinical systems transform medication management in aged care

Last updated on 10 May 2024

Thorough and efficient medication management provides quality care and safety. [Shutterstock]

Gone are the days of paper-based systems and manual processes. Today, clinical systems have stepped in as superheroes, revolutionising how medication is administered and monitored in aged care homes across Australia. 

Join hello leaders and Dr Caroline Lee, Founder and CEO of Leecare Solutions, as we explore the value of using clinical systems as the medication management admin program and how they’re making life easier, safer, and even more enjoyable for aged care residents.

A new era of medication management

Imagine a world where medication errors are drastically reduced, where healthcare providers have instant access to critical information, and where residents receive their medications on time, every time. This is the reality that clinical systems bring to aged care homes. These sophisticated digital platforms streamline the medication management process, from prescription to administration to documentation.

Believe it or not, clinical systems can even make medication management fun! With user-friendly interfaces, colourful dashboards, and interactive features, these systems transform mundane tasks into engaging activities. From gamified medication reminders to virtual rewards for adherence, clinical systems add a touch of joy and positivity to the aged care experience. Who knew managing medications could be so entertaining?

But as we all know, medication management is no game. One of the greatest benefits of clinical systems is their ability to enhance medication safety compared to paper-based systems.

“The Aged Care Royal Commission wanted the sector to be uplifted and for paper medication management processes to be replaced with electronic systems because in aged care, medication management includes much more than just the prescribing process, and how the pharmacy dispenses the medication,” Ms Lee explained.

“It is about administering the right medication for the right reason to the right resident – based on their goals, their co-morbidities, how they are feeling on a particular day.”

“It requires thoughtful nursing and gerontology considerations – consideration for the person and their preferences on that ‘day’ – to do that you need to have access to much more information during the “medication round”, only readily available in real-time clinical systems,” she added.

“Electronic systems can support the instant availability of key information by looking at a screen rather than trying to locate details from multiple sources.”

With built-in alerts and reminders, these systems help healthcare providers avoid potential drug interactions, allergies, and dosage errors. They also provide instant access to residents’ medication histories, ensuring that all treatments are tailored to individual needs and preferences. 

In the realm of healthcare, effective medication management stands as a cornerstone for resident safety and positive health outcomes. However, the complexity of medication regimens, coupled with the potential for errors, underscores the necessity for robust systems to streamline the process. 

Clinical systems, encompassing a range of digital tools and platforms, have emerged as invaluable assets in this endeavour. This is where Leecare has thrived when working with aged care providers as clinical systems such as medication management administration programs cover key framework like the Ten Rights of Medication Administration.

The significance of clinical systems

Clinical systems encompass a diverse array of technological solutions designed to enhance healthcare delivery, streamline workflows, and improve resident outcomes. Within the domain of medication management, these systems play a pivotal role in optimising various facets of the process, from prescribing to administration and monitoring. 

The Ten ‘R’s framework serves as a guiding principle for effective medication management, emphasising key elements essential for ensuring resident safety and therapeutic efficacy. These ‘R’s encompass the right drug, right to refuse, right resident, right to education, right dose, right route, right to question, right response, right time and right advice. 

Achieving these ‘R’s necessitates a coordinated approach that integrates clinical expertise with robust technological infrastructure, a synergy in which clinical systems excel.

Safe medication management is an essential right for older people, and the Ten Rights of Medication Administration can show you how to achieve it.  [Leecare Solutions]

Right drug: Through the inclusion of medication management functionality in the Clinical system, prescribers can select appropriate medications tailored to individual resident needs as they have access to all relevant key clinical information, minimising the likelihood of medication errors.

Right to refuse: As the clinical system will already include consent forms and access to progress notes outlining the person’s demeanour on a particular day, and will record the refusal of medications and reasons, clinical systems support the empowerment of residents, fostering resident-centred care and shared decision-making.

Right resident: Clinical systems facilitate accurate resident identification through robust resident matching algorithms, reducing the risk of medication errors stemming from misidentification.

Right education: Clinical systems support resident education efforts by providing access to comprehensive medication information, educational resources, and personalised instructions, empowering residents to take an active role in their treatment plans.

Right dose and route: Clinical systems incorporate dose and route decision-making information, assisting prescribers in determining the correct dosage and route based on resident-specific details, such as weight, age and medical diagnoses, which are already available in the real-time Clinical system.

Right to question: Clinical judgement requires you to ask questions or raise doubts before administration. Using a clinical system that includes medication management preferences ensures all such details are at hand.

Right response: Clinical systems facilitate monitoring of resident responses to medications through real-time data capture and analytics, enabling timely intervention in the event of adverse reactions or treatment non-response. 

Right time: Utilising integrated scheduling features and automated reminders, clinical systems ensure timely medication administration, reducing the risk of missed doses and therapeutic lapses. Non-administered medications are much more obvious to staff.

Right advice: Provide the resident with all the information and relevant advice they need, based on understanding their personal goals. 

Understanding the Ten Rights of Medication Administration is crucial in mitigating medication errors. Nurses, who play a pivotal role in administering medications, find this mnemonic aid invaluable in guiding them towards safe medication practices.

Nurses bear the weighty responsibility of upholding safe and high-quality resident care consistently. Among their myriad duties, medication administration stands out as particularly fraught with potential risks. Research into medical administration errors has revealed an alarming 60% error rate, often manifesting in incorrect timing, dosage, or frequency. 

Adhering to the Ten Rights of Medication Administration is imperative to ensure the safety and well-being of residents under their care, explained Dr Lee.

“The Aged Care Royal Commission also wanted to ensure the sector was eNRMC ready and conformant. The Grants were made available to give organisations support to replace paper systems,” Ms Lee said.

“Did we achieve that? No. Some vendors used this as an opportunity to replace already conformant eNRMC systems wasting the opportunity to aid the sector uplift from paper.”

“To address all ten ‘R’s, staff need to be able to easily read all the recent progress notes, see what their observations have been like but also know the person’s care plan, their goals and the communication/cognitive supports needed.”

“Clinical systems provide that readily available information. In aged care homes, effective communication is key to providing high-quality care. Clinical systems facilitate seamless communication between healthcare providers, pharmacists, and other members of the care team,” she added. 

Whether it’s sending electronic prescriptions, receiving medication alerts, or sharing important updates, these systems ensure everyone is on the same page. This collaboration not only improves medication management but also fosters a sense of teamwork and camaraderie among caregivers.

medication management
medication leadership
Caroline Lee
Leecare Solutions
clinical systems
10 Rights for Safe Medication Administration
medication administration