We recently spoke to Gerald Greeley, Director of Information Systems for Winchester Hospital — a healthcare organization that provides acute care, specialty services, outpatient services and integrated home care to 360,000 residents in northwest suburban Boston. Responsible for information systems initiatives, health information management and HIPAA, Gerald and his team have a keen eye on medication administration and implementing technology that can help improve patient safety.

“Medication safety is extremely important to any hospital. It’s becoming especially critical as we treat more patients who are sicker and older,” says Gerald. When asked what else is influencing the adoption of medication administration technology, Gerald cites meaningful use, which he says is a positive thing because, “[MU] has put pressure on healthcare organizations to leverage the power of technology to meet these requirements, if they haven’t already done so.”

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Gerald points out the medication administration solutions in place at Winchester: Meditech’s bedside medication verification module, Pyxis medication dispensing stations and — most recently — barcode scanning, which was introduced to the labor and delivery, special care nursery and well-baby nursery areas. “Our goal is to roll it out to the rest of the med/surg inpatient floors next year, when we’re going to start our measurement period for meaningful use Stage 2, which requires tracking 10% of all medications using electronic medication administration records.”

Gerald says in order to get buy-in from nurses, his organization (which follows a Lean methodology) conducted a medication administration kaizen — also known as the Japanese term for “good change.” Gerald’s team took a holistic view of the entire medication administration workflow. “We looked at the steps one at a time to see what we could eliminate, either with technology or just with different processes, and how we could help our nurses.”

Even with new technology solutions, Gerald says human factors can still have a big impact on medication administration safety. “We learned from the kaizen how problematic interruptions can be, so what we’re really trying to do is create a protected place, which means once the nurses are in this medication administration time, we’re making sure they’re not distracted — whether they’re using the new technology or administering medication by traditional methods.”

Gerald shares these three tips when it comes to successfully implementing medication administration technologies:

  1. Look at your entire workflow
  2. Think through and sweat out the details up front
  3. Be thoughtful and collaborative when working closely with your clinical end users

Check out the full discussion we had with Gerald, including what other medication administration technology he’s interested in.

Learn more about CDW Healthcare’s medication administration solutions.

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