An electronic medicines management solution has been shown to virtually eradicate errors in medicine management in care homes and prevent millions of pounds worth of medicines being wasted.
PROACTIVE CARE SYSTEM® (PCS) has been developed by Bristol-based healthcare technology company, Invatech Health. The specially designed barcode system and hand-held device allows care home staff to identify each resident, ensure the correct medication is selected and record its administration. It also provides real time information to pharmacists who can check for prescribing errors.
The effectiveness of the system has been tested in a recent pilot scheme in South Wales through technology company, Beacon Digital Health, which was awarded a grant of £455,000 by the Welsh Government’s Health Technology and Telehealth Fund.
Thirty care homes and 16 pharmacies took part in the pilot involving the supply of equipment, software development and training for more than 500 staff. The project was evaluated by the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Cardiff University with outstanding results.
The research found that existing paper-based medicine administration record (MAR) charts allowed for a significant number of errors.
Twenty-three distinct errors were identified such as the dose being absent from the chart, the time the dose was given and discrepancies in stock control. In the poorest performing care homes, residents were exposed to 55 errors per person per week.
By using the PCS technology, participating homes saw 21 of the 23 types of error completely eradicated, and another reduced by 88%.
Tower Hill Care Home in Penarth uses the Proactive Care System. Registered manager, Amy Curtis, said they are already seeing the advantages of the technology:
“Medication rounds are more efficient and take less time now. Staff have peace of mind in knowing the new system helps them to ensure that all of the important tasks associated with medicines administration are completed. Plus, our residents receive their medication safely and in a much more personalised way.
Bethany Care Home in Chepstow also uses PCS. Team leader, Ashleigh Askew, said:
“The staff feel much more confident knowing that they can’t make a mistake. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.”
The Proactive Care System also provides real-time information to pharmacists who can check for prescribing errors.
Those 16 pharmacists who participated in the study found that they had, on average, to intervene on 80% of prescriptions for the care homes they supplied.
Pharmacist Jonathon Jonathon Smith 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.”
The research also highlighted the potential of the Proactive Care System to limit the amount of prescribed drugs that are wasted.
Based on the reduction in the number of returned medicines and the overstocks seen in care homes during the trial period, it is estimated PCS could generate annual savings of £3.2 million and £4.6 million respectively if used across all of Wales’ care beds.
Jane Soltys from Washington Pharmacy in Penarth, said: “We work with one care home that still uses a paper-based system. At the end of the month they send us a phenomenal amount of waste.
“But for the homes using the Proactive Care System we can check what medicine they are ordering and whether or not they have it in stock. We can intervene if necessary to tell them they don’t need to order it. The difference in waste is absolutely incredible.”
Tariq Muhammed, the Chief Executive of Invatech Health said;
“We are incredibly proud to say the Proactive Care System is the only proven electronic medicines management system in the UK.
“PCS gives care home staff and owners peace of mind when it comes to drug management. It saves time because stock control and wastage are much easier to manage. That frees up staff to spend more of their day with residents and the best care is what every home wants to provide.”
To find out more about the Proactive Care System visit www.getpcs.co.uk