OSWEGO, NY – Morningstar Residential Care Center, 17 Sunrise Drive, in Oswego, took another next step into the digital health care world.
Joseph Murabito, owner/operator and administrator of the facility, said thanks to intense collaboration between the facility’s staff and Harbor Pharmacy, Morningstar now has new medication administration software in place designed to not only reduce the amount of time spent on documentation, but improve patient and resident safety.
“Carol Buske and Marcia Phillips, both registered nurses, were the point people who worked with Harbor Pharmacy for all of the training and data entry to get the system in place,” Murabito said.
The system, called QuickMAR, is an electronic medication administration record software system and works through a laptop mounted on the medication cart. This system allows for easy documentation of medication administration, vital signs and other observations, he explained. Previously, this was all done manually, with handwritten notes and documentation in charts.
“Using QuickMAR takes the clerical part of the administration process away from the facility, pharmacy and the doctors and allows more time spent with the patient,” Murabito said. “We are one step closer to having a fully integrated electronic medical record system – one that we started rolling out this summer. This is one more step to eliminate clerical time, be progressive and get connected to the bigger picture, which in turn helps us provide better customer care.”
“On an annual basis there are more than 1.1 million individual contact points between nurse and patient at Morningstar where patients receive medications.” Murabito said. “Add to this admissions, discharges, order changes and include our short-term rehabilitation patients into the mix and you begin to understand the magnitude of the documentation process.”
“Another helpful feature of the system,” he said, “is that QuickMAR will also cue staff if an additional step is necessary before giving the next medication, such as taking vital signs.”
“Sometimes taking vital signs are the deciding factor of whether or not to dispense a medication,” Murabito pointed out, “this system adds safety layers to our process and helps us drive quality.”
The new system also provides the ability to have immediate quality assurance reporting and error tracking, as well as documenting successes and positive outcomes.
“Regulations seem to be stacking up all around us these days,” he said. “When you have the technology to do key clerical or administrative functions for you, the clinicians can get closer to the patients and provide better customer service, which is what Morningstar is all about.”
Murabito said integrating care in this way is a main component to something that is on the horizon for everyone in the medical world; a term called episodic care management.
Episodic care, he explained, takes one event like a heart attack and then widens the scope from the event itself. It looks at all the precursors to the heart attack, the actual event, all of the treatment to take care of it, and finally the steps taken to keep the patient stable and healthy. The future of healthcare for patients and providers is in episodic care management.
Rather than continuing to compartmentalize care provided by separate and individual providers, which is the way things are now, he said, the opportunities are beginning to present themselves in healthcare technology so that a person’s comprehensive care and associated documentation are gathered through technology and integrated into a single record to be used to assure better communication and continuity of care.
Another step in the process Morningstar has taken for better data management, clinical outcomes and customer service is participation in the Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO).
“Being a part of RHIO streamlines all medical records into one cohesive medical record in the community so you can see and understand one’s history to make sure you are providing comprehensive care.”
Andrea Doviak, the director of nursing at the facility, concurred. She explained that unless you are electronic, your information cannot be imported into the RHIO (system).
“We are being proactive by being a part of the RHIO,” Doviak said. “We want to be integrated into that whole process because it will put data at our fingertips enabling our facility to better manage patient care and services.”
“Healthcare information is private and personal,” Murabito stressed. “But the reality in health care is that data needs to be portable, integrated and trended. If globally you are going to do a better job taking care of the whole person, keep your costs in check and be competitive, there needs to be integration and sharing of data.”
From a fiscal point of view, Murabito noted health care reimbursement of the future is being sculpted around the idea of episodic care. This perspective stresses accountability between providers and demands better communication between providers.
“The best way to achieve better outcomes is to consider a broader timeframe around an illness and all the medical assessments and interventions applied to effectively deal with the problem,” Murabito said. “Having a strong command of our data through technology is going to allow us to survive and be successful.”