Feb 16 2017
Patient-Centered Care

How Technology is Helping to Streamline Safe Prescriptions

Inconsistent record keeping can leave doctors in the dark when prescribing new medications, but advanced systems can help to properly verify drug information and keep patients safe.

Unreliable prescription record keeping can be a direct danger to patient safety. In fact, as many as 50 percent of all hospital medication errors and 20 percent of adverse drug events are caused by “inconsistent knowledge and record keeping,” according to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

But new technologies promise to help healthcare organizations keep track of patient medications and ensure “medication reconciliation” (patients being prescribed a safe mix of drugs that won’t cause adverse reactions when they interact).

A prime example is Halifax Health in Florida. After a major upgrade of its IT infrastructure, Halifax Health’s Cisco Systems Unified Computing System (UCS) and EMC storage have become pivotal to helping boots-on-the-ground care providers order and verify their more than 1 million patient medications annually. Following a prescription order, the electronic medication administration system can check for allergies and potentially deadly drug interactions, then alert physicians as necessary.

The UCS data center platform unites compute, network and storage access. The platform is designed using open industry-standard technologies, optimized for virtual environments and aims to increase business agility.

At Halifax Health, it does just this. Once the prescriptions are verified by the system, nurses can then see the order on Jaco workstations-on-wheels. Barcode scanning technology is used to scan the patient and the medication to ensure the right prescription is administered at the right time.

“The nursing compliance to bedside medication verification is 100 percent on all nursing units,” Halifax Health Vice President and CIO Tom Stafford tells HealthTech. “This enhances the patient’s safety by having the system verify that the patient is receiving their medication and the correct dosage.”

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