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Mobile Medication Feature Improves Patient Safety in Southwest Finland

The Hospital District of Southwest Finland, Turku Region, is the first Finnish special healthcare operator to expansively introduce point-of-care mobile medication feature. Through this feature, browsing patient medications and recording their administration can be accomplished in the patient’s room via smartphone at once.

Point-of-care mobile medication feature was piloted at the Turku University Hospital Internal Medicine Unit in 2017. Access to the feature was expanded at the beginning of this year and soon it will be used by all inpatient wards and several outpatient clinics of the Hospital District of Southwest Finland.

Up-to-date patient data

Medication feature is part of an existing wider mobile solution package accessed by the hospital district. The first mobile feature, piloted and introduced in 2015, includes smart observation value browsing and recording, whereby values measured from the patient, such as blood pressure and pulse, can be recorded directly into the Electronic Health Record (EHR) real time. Since then, the features of the mobile solution have been expanded with medication being the latest example of this.

The medication feature is a smartphone app feature, which retrieves the patient’s overall medication and medication orders from the EHR in real time. Likewise, administered medications recorded via the app are saved in the medication software of the EHR at once. The up-to-date information is displayed immediately to all the people participating in the care. When updates to the EHR happen in real time, decision making can be based on the latest patient data. Since the patient data preceding any failure remains available through the mobile solution, the information flow is not broken in the event of a system interruption either.

Right medication at the right time

Mobile medication feature is designed to feature as the nurse’s mainstay, ascertaining proper pharmaceutical treatment and up-to-date administration entries in the medication software. During medication rounds, the right patient is identified by scanning the patient wristband and the correct medication, the dose and the means of administering it are checked against real-time data.

The app also imports the administration schedule from the EHR, whereby the right medication can be given at the right time.  The medication administration entry is recorded in the EHR at once, eliminating any double administration of medications as the current situation is displayed to everyone involved. When the nurse can check the medication orders and earlier entries in the patient’s room at once, human errors are reduced, leaving more time for patient care.

In the event of an exception to the programmed medication administration schedule, you can check the administration entries for the time when the medication was last administered to the patient. The importance of this was found, for example, in a case where two antibiotics had been programmed to be administered to the patient at the same time. Based on the accurate administration entries, it was possible to track the cause of a severe allergic reaction the patient had. We have been able to identify other side effects of medications as well. 

Riitta Danielsson-Ojala, a planner at the Hospital District of Southwest Finland.