I have always been an advocate for new technology where it makes sense to adopt it. The adoption is never without its headaches though! Nothing ever works as advertised the first go round and of course there is a tremendous learning curve for all concerned.
A few years back we successfully converted our medication management from a paper system to an electronic system. The process became much safer and much more efficient. If you can make the process safer for the residents and more efficient for the staff it is a win-win for all! As painful as that transition was, we’ve not had a medication error in three and a half years – a considerable achievement!
Even more significantly is that the increased efficiency means that the staff have to spend 50% less time dispensing medication. The time saved goes towards providing more quality care for our residents, something they truly appreciate and our staff love doing. Everybody wins!
So the "pain and suffering" I and my staff had to endure during the new technology implementation was well worth it! Both the residents’ quality of life and staff morale was lifted up a notch as a result.
So being the glutton for punishment that I am, I have been working with our pharmacy to pilot a new process which takes our medication administration to an even greater level of safety and efficiency. Beginning May 16th, we are piloting this new process on four of our residents.
DISPILL is an innovative, cold-sealed multi-dose packaging system that makes it easy to manage and take medications. Each blister pack contains multiple medications that are grouped together based on the time of the day you are directed to take them. Each medication bubble is detachable from the rest of the card and contains the following information:
Dispill packs come prepackaged from the pharmacy so the staff simply need to peel off the pack that contains all the medications for that particular time of day and give to the resident. It saves staff time from having to take a pill from several separate packs; in some cases, more than 10 separate packs per resident. The timesaving will be enormous when you consider we administer ~600 medications each day!
We are looking forward to a successful test run over the next 30 days. Soon we will have all residents on the new system and on our way to yet more staff hours per resident ratio! That’s worth a few headaches in the beginning in anyone’s book!
I would like to thank our pharmacy, Rx Innovations, for introducing the new process and for teaming up with us on the pilot trial. I would also like to thank my wonderful staff for their willingness to go along with my new technology mania!