A pilot study of 30 care homes in Wales has found how using a digital medicine administration record (MAR) solution from Proactive Care System has reduced errors and cut costs.
The project, paid for by the Welsh Government’s Health Technology and Telehealth Fund, compared paper-based medicine administration records with the Proactive Care System.
The study identified 23 different types of error in the management of medicines in care homes when a paper-based system was used. This amounted to between four and 55 errors each week.
After Proactive Care System was implemented, 21 of these error types were completely eradicated. Another was reduced by 88%.
Lead researcher Dr Mat Smith said: “There are significant challenges associated with safety, quality and accountability in medicines administration and record keeping. They pose a serious threat to the vulnerable patients in our care homes.
“Our evaluation has shown that many of these risks can be reduced by implementing the Proactive Care System and enabling pharmacists to make proactive and consistent interventions.”
Abigail Philips, head of the Healthcare Technology programme for the Welsh Government, said she will share the study’s results wider within government, in particular with the minister for health and social services and the chief pharmaceutical officer.
She said that study has “proved that the Proactive Care System can deliver a reduction in medication errors in care homes”.
She added: “This will assist in reducing admission rates to hospital for adverse reactions to medications and incorrect dosages.”
Pharmacist Jonathon Smith, who was also involved in the pilot, has been using the Proactive Care System with three care homes for almost a year.
He said: “I can’t fault the Proactive Care System. You feel confident when you’re dispensing a prescription. The fact that you can send medicines out knowing that an error can’t be made, and the care home can’t do anything you haven’t pre-authorised, is a real comfort.”
Fellow panel member Ashleigh Askew and team Leader at Bethany Care Home in Chepstow said: “The Proactive Care System is so much more reliable, quicker and safer. The staff feel much more confident knowing that they can’t make a mistake. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.”
Based on the reduction in the number of returned medicines and the overstocks seen in care homes during the trial period, it is estimated the system could generate annual savings of £3.2 million and £4.6 million respectively if used across all of Wales’ care beds.