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  • Stephen Boulanger

eMAR Series Part One - Advantages

The Advantages of eMAR

This is the first of an in-depth series covering the many aspects of eMAR, including advantages, information on selecting and installing the right eMAR for your needs, training and everything else you ever wanted to know about eMAR.

eMAR claims to be the golden ticket for assisted living communities. And it’s easy to see why. By replacing traditional medication administration records (MAR) with electronic ones, we decrease errors in giving medications and increase the amount of time nurses have to spend with each patient. The bottom line is that eMAR equips communities to serve patients better by doing everything a traditional MAR does, but faster and more accurately.

What eMAR Offers

eMAR significantly reduces the time it takes to review and log the charting of medications. It reduces the time it takes to complete a cycle fill drug check-in by 60-85% and cuts the time it takes to pass meds in half while consistently enforcing the 5 Rights. It eliminates:

· Trips back to the med cart and interruptions at the med cart

· The need to review MAR for errors

· The need to fax reorders

· The monthly MAR recap and review

· Handwritten notes, decreasing nursing time

The benefits of eMAR include:

· Double checks that serve as a safety net for your residents, your staff and your community

· Saved time and money

· Enhanced quality control and compliance

· Greater visibility into your resident care

How eMAR works

Let’s break down how eMAR revolutionizes giving medications. First of all, eMAR can list residents based on the day and time their meds are due. So if you’re passing meds at 8am on a Monday, you can opt to only see the residents who receive medications at that time. Photos for each of these residents appear to help ensure you have the right patient.

For each resident, you can limit the list of meds to those that are due right now. So at 8am on Monday, you won’t accidentally give a resident their Tuesday or afternoon meds. You’ll give meds at the right time.

Scanning the barcode for each medication you are about to administer checks them off on the screen and gives you visual confirmation that you’ve got the right drug. If you miss one or scan the incorrect medication, eMAR will alert you to your mistake, significantly reducing your margin of error. Once the resident has received their meds, eMAR records the med pass to help prevent any potential double dosing.

Alerts, Follow-ups and Other Tools

eMAR automatically sets up an alert to follow-up with that patient within an hour after you give a PRN. It also helps determine how much of a sliding scale med is due or how many units of insulin you need to give based on blood sugar levels. When a medication is missed, an alert appears and will continue to appear until you record either giving the medication or an exception. Exceptions, such as a patient refusing, are entirely customizable to suit your needs. eMAR also allows users to message the pharmacy or each other throughout the building.

Because eMAR interfaces with your pharmacy, re-orders are far more simple. If you’re in the middle of passing meds and notice a drug needs to be re-ordered, you can immediately send the re-order directly to your pharmacy through eMAR without interrupting your med pass.

Your eMAR gives your Director of Nursing and supervisors a 30-foot view of the entire community. At any point during the day, you can see a snapshot of all med-related information: exceptions, progression of med passes, changes in orders, PRNs, missed meds, current alerts, reorders sent, etc. You can filter your view to focus on a specific med cart or the whole building for the day or several days, enabling you to quickly note any issues. This overview can uncover trouble spots and help you determine your exact training needs.

Integration with Your Pharmacy

Lastly, eMAR connects directly to your pharmacy so that orders can go directly from you pharmacy’s system into yours, eliminating errors caused by manual entry. You still review these orders for accuracy, however, before they go live in your eMAR. While the need to enter or change anything manually is rare, it is still possible. In fact, if you prefer entering orders manually, this is still an option.


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