Medication errors are one of the leading causes of adverse events and patient injuries in the world and a common reason behind hospital morbidity. According to a recent study, more than half of medication errors occur when the medication is administered. Using the mobile app to check a patient’s medication and make entries about its administration contributes to safe pharmacotherapy and significantly improves patient safety. WHO’s World Patient Safety Day is observed on 17 September 2021.
Errors may occur in four different phases of the medication process: prescription, handling, distribution or administration. A medication error may lead to a patient being administered an unsuitable medication, the wrong dose or the medication of a different patient, or the medication could be administered at the wrong time. In the worst case, a medication error may lead to the death of the patient. According to a new study1 more than half (54%) of medication errors occur in the administration phase.
“Uniform operating methods and practices concerning making entries contribute to patient safety”
The University Hospitals of Turku, Tampere and Kuopio in Finland uses the Medanets app to contribute safe pharmacotherapy.
An important component of the Medanets app used by these hospitals is a medication feature. The app’s medication feature uses the WHO’s “list of five rights” by providing nurses with real-time information of the right medication, the right dose, the right time, the right route and the right patient in their smartphones. This way, the nurse can access the information concerning the patient’s pharmacotherapy right next to the patient and right before administering the medication.
The nurse continues to be the most important factor in the medication process, but the smartphone app supports them in their work. “We strive to observe and assess the quality of treatment and the processes of patient care constantly in order to ensure that the patients are provided with services that meet their needs. Introducing the medication feature to the mobile environment has required updating the instructions and processes. But uniform operating methods and practices concerning making entries contribute to patient safety,” says Ville Jalo, Planner of Development Services at the Turku University Hospital.
According to Istekki’s Project Manager Ari Ruuth, who works on the Tampere Region’s mobile hospital project, the new instructions of the hospital region say that a medication administration entry should be made whenever a medication is administered.
The medication safety group felt that this can be done most easily and quickly with a mobile app. The Tampere University Hospital started using the medication feature of the Medanets app in May 2021. More than 95,000 administration entries are already made every month.”Project Manager Ari Ruuth, Istekki
Nurses have access to the mobile app for care work on their smartphones throughout their rounds. Nurses can identify the right patient by scanning the patient’s patient ID wristband on the medication administration round. The app retrieves all information related to the patient’s medications in real-time from the electronic health record in use. The nurse will then compare this information with the distributed medications. When the nurse has verified the “five rights”, the medication is administered and an entry of this administration is made automatically in the medication section of the electronic health record.
“Real-time information is very important in healthcare, where circumstances change constantly. The patient’s condition may change very quickly, and it is vital to get a reliable overall view of the procedures performed on the patient and medications administered to the patient in such circumstances. It has been shown that information between different professional groups and care units travels faster when it can be entered in the electronic health record in a timely manner,” says Jalo.
“The impact of pharmacotherapy performed on a patient can be assessed more accurately when an entry of administering the medication is made immediately when it is administered,” say both Jalo and Ruuth.
Timely entries are also legal safeguards for both the patient and the nursing staff as it is possible to verify the pharmacotherapy performed on the patient in real time.Planner of Development Services Ville Jalo, Turku University Hospital.
However, it must be noted that the administration of a medication is only a single phase of the pharmacotherapy process. In order to minimise the chance of human error, the entire pharmacotherapy process must be analysed and any potential risks must be identified.
1. Elliott RA, et al. (2021): Economic analysis of the prevalence and clinical and economic burden of medication error in England. BMJ Qual Saf.
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