Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) is well known throughout Ohio, but it’s not simply for the high level of patient care it provides in leading medical and rehabilitation services. The hospital was recently named the Number One Best Employer in Ohio by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, following on the heels of being named to the Fortune 100 Best Places to Work in America, both recognitions based largely on feedback from SOMC employees. In January 2008, SOMC was named a Magnet Hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, an honor for excellence in patient care given to less than four percent of hospitals nationwide.
Like most hospitals across the country, SOMC was looking to address the issue of medication errors and find an automated solution that could eliminate such errors at the point of care. The facility decided to search vendors with which it had prior experience and find a solution that not only was easy to use but also was a powerhouse with regard to its data content and recording and reporting capabilities. Through its search, SOMC was impressed by the fact that New York-based Meta, Inc., a company which had made a smooth transition from niche vendor to clinical information systems vendor, offered a fully integrated, Web-based solution which could be customized to meet the hospital’s specific goals.
MetaCare Enterprise eMAR, a bar-code compatible point of care medication administration and documentation system, utilizes bar-code technology to help SOMC eliminate medication errors at the point of care by efficiently automating the medication documentation process while integrating such tasks as vital sign and I & O documentation. The solution allows the nurse to easily monitor up-to-the-minute patient indices such as vital signs and the laboratory results which are deemed valuable to an individual patient. In addition, it allows the nurse to document progress notes, adverse drug reactions and medication incidences in one location.
“With MetaCare eMAR, our staff has access to detailed information about the patient medication order, from clinical alerts and interactions that may have been encountered by the pharmacist at order entry to notes and alerts entered by other practitioners,” explained Rory Phillips, R.Ph., Director of Pharmacy Services for SOMC. “It provides us with a dynamic and flexible documentation tool that updates the patient’s medication profile instantaneously when a change is made by either our pharmacy or nursing department.”
SOMC deployed a multidisciplinary team of nurses, pharmacists and IT professionals to work closely with Meta in the design and implementation of MetaCare eMAR. The solution went live on August 21, 2007 at SOMC, and went so smoothly that the hospital’s staff thought that something was missing.
“I’ve worked with several computer vendors in the past, but I had never been through a good go-live like the one with Meta,” remarked Phillips. “They’re the most awesome computer vendor group I’ve ever worked with.”
Along with a successful implementation and go-live of MetaCare eMAR at SOMC, the feedback from the facility’s nursing staff has been positive. According to Valerie DeCamp, Director of Nursing Inpatient Services and Accreditation for SOMC, “We are able to follow the five rights of Medication Administration and can say that we truly are following the safest way to deliver meds to a patient. The software has the appearance of our old paper model, which makes it easier for the nurses to learn and follows their daily workflow.”
The positive results of SOMC’s MetaCare eMAR deployment started rolling in immediately after the go-live. The facility has been able to achieve 96 percent compliance enterprise-wide, with the pediatric department experiencing almost 100 percent. Also, in the first shift of the solution going live on one unit of 30 patients, SOMC staff identified ten medication errors avoided as a result of MetaCare eMAR, potential errors that were detected while working with three nurses on one eight-hour shift. None of the initial medication errors were care altering for the patients but were errors nonetheless.
“The implementation of MetaCare eMAR at our facility has been an impressive achievement,” stated Dean Wray, Vice President of Finance for SOMC. “Our technology at SOMC is very impressive already, and the new eMAR system is a huge success – it has made a difference at SOMC by improving our medication administration process.”
In addition to the positive feedback from SOMC staff and administration, the MetaCare eMAR implementation at Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) was made approvable by the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy (OSBOP) to meet the requirements in the Ohio administrative code for secure electronic signature of pharmacy and drug-related documents. With the approvable status, SOMC is no longer required to use paper nursing-administration and pharmacy records to conform to the OSBOP positive identification method, which assigns direct accountability to individual users of the solution.
Physical ownership of the MetaCare eMAR barcode scanner in combination with individual entry information allows the SOMC staff to display patient records – a double level of security to meet OSBOP standards. The State of Ohio uses specific high-level security and accountability standards that are some of the most strict in the United States. The rigorous process completed by OSBOP at SOMC included on-site inspections and demonstrations of the MetaCare eMAR solution.
“Our achievement of secure, paperless nursing administration and pharmacy records within the guidelines of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy demonstrates how well MetaCare eMAR has improved the safety of our patients,” remarked Phillips. “This experience solidified, once again, the value of the partnership between Meta and SOMC. I think we are good for each other.”
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