Medication Safety Advanced In The Hospital Pharmacy With Mckesson Ehr & Cpoe Technology

Incentives from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) are helping to create a wave of healthcare IT implementation activity. In all likelihood, we will see more IT adoption in healthcare in the next five years than in the previous 20. Physicians and nursing staff will increasingly incorporate healthcare IT into their daily workflow, creating greater opportunity for pharmacists to be more engaged in an organization’s medication safety and use processes.

Prior to the creation of Electronic Health Records (EHRs), it was a cumbersome process for the pharmacist to access each patient’s paper record for medication review. The EHR has the potential to change all that. Properly configured, the EHR can serve as the pharmacist’s “eyes and ears” on the entire medication use process, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Now the pharmacist is in a position to make a much greater contribution to the multidisciplinary care team.
Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) enables drug orders to instantly come into the pharmacy in an electronic format, eliminating transcription-related errors. Integration of CPOE and the pharmacy information system provides a unique opportunity to incorporate drug therapy best practices, guidelines for use, and surveillance related to medication safety and utilization into the EHR.
The EHR will ultimately cross all disciplines in a hospital. In order for EHR adoption to be successful, each institution must view the transition as a multidisciplinary issue. This approach means that the walls that have so long separated and isolated departments must be broken down in favor of a broader and more effective approach. These teams can provide a powerful means of evaluating patient care workflows from end to end and identifying ways to improve safety and efficiency.

EHRs also bring an unprecedented level of transparency to every department within the hospital, including the pharmacy. The data collected by the EHRs can be analyzed to bring a high level of clarity to healthcare processes. When everyone has a single source for truth, misunderstanding and misconceptions quickly give way to greater efficiency and effectiveness. Instead of wading through mounds of reports and discovering negative trends long after they have started, dashboard alerts allow for near real-time monitoring. Such transparency can serve as a powerful agent of change.
All of these advances will change the way pharmacists work in new and fundamental ways. The result will be professionals that are firmly integrated into the care process and better able to share their training and experience with colleagues. That’s an approach with real benefits for both caregivers and patients alike.
For a complete version of this article, or to learn more about medication safety, Electronic Health Record or CPOE solutions, visit McKesson online.