Pharmacist POV: Patient Safety with MEDITECH Expanse Pharmacy

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By Ken Ginsburg | Jan 19, 2024

3 minute read MEDITECH| EHR/EMR| Blog

Years ago, I had the opportunity to serve as consulting informatics pharmacist during multi-facility MEDITECH implementations, and ever since then I have been helping clinical teams navigate EHR transitions and optimizations. From the early days of working with MEDITECH Magic to MEDITECH Expanse today, I have experienced the challenges and benefits that technology brings to clinical operations and patient safety. Whether helping design workflows with core team members or building automated dispensing cabinets, patient safety is the cornerstone of all such efforts. The evolution of the MEDITECH Expanse Pharmacy module is a powerful ally in enhancing patient safety. If you haven’t made the leap to MEDITECH Expanse, I’d like to share my perspective—wearing my both my pharmacist and EHR implementation consultant hats—on several important ways MEDITECH Expanse Pharmacy Module features help to minimize errors, streamline workflows, and maximize patient safety.

  1. Order strings and dosing sets simplify order entry.

MEDITECH Expanse's order strings and dosing sets are a dynamic duo that not only simplifies medication management but also offers robust safety benefits. These features ensure consistency, accuracy and safety in the prescription process.

By using order strings, clinicians can quickly access pre-built, evidence-based medication orders, reducing the risk of errors caused by manual entry. This consistency minimizes the potential for misinterpretation and streamlines the ordering process, ultimately enhancing patient safety.

Dosing sets provide a structured approach to weight-based medication ordering. They help healthcare providers determine the correct dosage based on a patient's specific parameters, such as weight and age, reducing the risk of over- or under-dosing.

Incorporating MEDITECH Expanse's order strings and dosing sets not only increases efficiency but also strengthens patient safety by standardizing and automating the ordering and dosing processes, reducing the likelihood of medication-related errors.

  1. Decision support tools guard against possible medication errors.

Decision support tools in the MEDITECH Pharmacy Module offer insights and warnings to prevent potential errors for pharmacists and clinical teams who may be stretched thin. Among these tools, drug-drug interaction alerts stand as watchful sentinels, scanning a patient's medication regimen for potential conflicts or contraindications. These alerts ensure that healthcare providers are notified of potential issues before they can lead to adverse drug events.

Allergy checks and dosage recommendations complement these alerts, offering additional layers of protection against medication-related harm. Alerts will appear during the ordering process, allowing the provider an opportunity to make a clinical medication decision in real-time and avoid a potentially life-threatening situation from developing.

When properly configured these alerts will not add to the burden of clicks and or contribute to alert fatigue, but instead offer peace of mind.

  1. Barcode Medication Administration is a must-do for patient safety.

We find and use barcodes and QR code technology in our everyday life—why wouldn’t we apply the use of barcode technology in healthcare. Barcode technology is a pharmacy and medication management game-changer for patient safety, streamlining workflows, and promoting accountability.

Yes, barcode scanning ensures that the right medication, dosage, and patient match every time, dramatically reducing medication errors and potential adverse drug events, but this action speaks volumes to the patient and reaffirms their safety while in your care.

The integration of barcodes in pharmacy operations streamlines medication documentation, reducing paperwork errors and automating records. This results in a comprehensive and accurate medication administration history, promoting transparency and accountability.

  1. Automated medication dispensing helps reduce manual errors.

How can automation help pharmacy? Consider how automated medication dispensing and the MEDITECH Expanse Pharmacy Module can help eliminate the potential for errors associated with manual processes.

Furthermore, these systems provide real-time inventory management, ensuring that healthcare organizations have a constant supply of medications while minimizing waste due to expired drugs.

This level of precision not only enhances patient safety by reducing the risk of incorrect product replacement during medication shortages but also contributes to cost-effectiveness in healthcare operations.

  1. People are the heart of medication safety.

As a pharmacist who fully embraces technology, I still standby the principle that patient safety and medication safety begin with healthcare professionals who seek first to do no harm. Technology at its best is a safeguard, a tool, a workflow engine, and much more, but it does not replace a culture where patient safety is prioritized. I have worked with health systems of all sizes and encouraging a culture where healthcare professionals are empowered to speak up and report potential issues is paramount.

Training and education from clinical operations to technology use and how to tap into its benefits go far in improving patient safety.

How will your organization work to improve patient safety?

Improving patient safety is an ongoing endeavor. Whatever your goal for patient safety, there’s likely a technology component.

Modern EHRs like MEDITECH Expanse continue to offer features that streamline workflows, minimize errors, improve clinical team communication, and maximize patient safety. Implementing a next-gen EHR is a challenging project that requires a variety of skills, healthcare operations experience, and clinical knowledge. Fine-tuning an EHR after go-live is equally important to patient safety. For insight into optimization opportunities that can make the biggest impact to patient care, consider a MEDITECH assessment.

Related resources

About the Author:
Ken Ginsburg

Senior Consultant, MEDITECH Professional Services, CereCore

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