Connectivity and the impact on patient care

BD Institute for Medication Management Excellence


Connectivity and the impact on patient care

PUBLISHED: Mar 11, 2019

Perry Flowers, RPh, MS

The medication management process is the full end-to-end life of a medication, starting with procurement and concluding with administration to a patient in a care space. The intermediate steps along this process are medication storage and preparation occurring within pharmacy areas and then medication distribution to patient care spaces. Historically, these process segments have been addressed by various technologies, requiring any number of interfaces that increase an organization’s IT footprint in additional support and maintenance. CIOs should establish a set of requirements regarding the management process that focuses on meeting patient care quality and safety concerns.

Evaluating a connected solution model

Many high-risk health processes, such as medication management, continue to demand an increased level of both regulatory scrutiny and accreditation risks. This is where a connected model can address what a single platform struggles to do: absorb all the process segments within a high-risk process and integrate these steps into a single stream to ensure better patient care. To meet the increased scrutiny and risk around medication, management can only be achieved through a connected process model.

Co-existing with other vendors

Organizations and their EMR vendors should recognize the utility of co-existing with an integrated approach. Together, these two models can strategically lessen the technology infrastructure burden of an organization by reducing, removing or consolidating servers and interfaces. To support this, a strict evaluation of the medication management process would produce a deliberate design to connect all parts of the medication management process from procurement to point-of-care administration. To meet the highest quality control requirements, organizations should establish a co-existence framework where their EMR platform remains the foundational base upon which a connected management model can run quality controls, and enhance their clinical databases and operational analytics. Organizations might also consider that the specialized capabilities of an integrated model can help them meet the increased demand for regulatory and accreditation bodies, enhancing the considerable investment they made with their existing infrastructure.

Quality and patient safety issues related to the medication management process

The medication management process continues to be held to higher standards amidst a handful of serious and tragic medication-related misadventures dating back to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report “Preventing Medication Errors” published in 2007 as part of their Quality Chasm series. This report identified medications as an important contributor to patient harm. Some of the most startling examples of safety issues cited were when concentrated medications were incorrectly administered to newborn babies and when adult medications were administered through an incorrect route. More than a decade later, we’re still struggling with many of these same issues and we continue to see examples too close to the reality of that 2007 report. The transition to the EMR platforms may be seen as an important first phase in improving patient care and safety, but now we need connected solutions like medication management for those process segments that pose high-risk safety concerns.

The medication management process must be simplified to help break the cycle of medication error and offer safe, quality patient care. Integrated platforms and point-of-care technologies have the potential to reduce inefficiencies in the medication-use process (from pharmacy to the patient’s bedside) and improve safety across the continuum of care.

Learn more

Each month on the BD Institute for Medication Management Excellence blog, thought leaders explore topics of critical importance to medication management, and provide additional ways to learn.

Now that you've read about connectivity and the potential impact on patient care, take a deeper dive by learning about next generation interoperability, which will require vigorous cybersecurity standards.