How Technology is Making Nursing Homes Safer

Improved technology has had an unforeseeable but positive impact on the healthcare industry. Nursing homes, or long-term care facilities, are in a particularly unique position to benefit from many of these changes. The first priority of a nursing home is to keep patients safe. With the number of patients under care, as well as balancing the increasing rules and regulations in the industry, long-term care facilities need better technology to keep track of medication, care plans and patient history.

Better Prescription Delivery

Within a nursing home, each patient has a medication administration record or MAR. This record contains the patient’s name as well as detailed medication information. With the right technology, a pharmacy can print a patient’s nursing home MAR and use it to individually package a single or multiple medication dosage. This makes it safer to administer the medication to the resident by eliminating the need to measure and deliver the correct dosage.    

Electronic Health Records

It can be a daunting task for a paper-driven industry to convert to electronic health records. It isn’t simply a matter of investing in a new software system; someone has to scan or input historical information accurately. However, the industry is quickly moving in this direction, and any nursing home hoping to keep pace with its competitors can’t afford to stay in the past. Electronic health records are necessary to streamline prescription orders and help medical professionals make quicker decisions regarding patient treatment. Technology can actually alert pharmacists and doctors about drug interactions or strange dosage amounts. By condensing a patient’s medical history, it can give a doctor more complete and quicker information and reduce the chance of ordering duplicate unnecessary medical tests. In fact, there are so many benefits to utilizing electronic records that the government actually offers Medicaid and Medicare incentive programs to those switching.

Advanced Software

As hospitals and nursing homes are transitioning to electronic medical records, the advancements in software have made huge strides in keeping residents safe. In the past, medication orders were written down, faxed, or given over the phone. Electronic prescriptions are now common and flow directly into patient records. This eliminates problems relating to unclear handwriting, missed faxes or waiting to get a hold of the correct person on the phone. It also helps to reduce instances of potential medication abuse or fraud.

Technology within the healthcare industry is improving at a rapid pace. Whether through electronic medical records, prescriptions or better software, these improvements are keeping patients safer and reducing errors.