Connors Center First Up for eMAR
For nearly three months now, nursing staff on Connors Center 8, 9 and 10 have trailblazed use of the new electronic medication record (eMAR). The rollout is the last and perhaps biggest step in BWH's decade-long development of the Electronic Medication Administration System. A collaboration among Pharmacy, Medicine, Information Systems and nursing staff, BWH leads hospitals nationwide in this effort to combat medication errors.
It has been a tremendous learning experience for nursing staff on the Connor's post partum floors. “The staff quickly got up to speed on what is a whole new way of doing their jobs,” said Anne Bane, RN, nurse coordinator. “There are huge benefits to patients because this electronic system eliminates handwritten and transcribed orders and their legibility errors,” she said.
To support the eMAR roll out, staff had access to intensively trained super users, who served as dedicated, 24/7 resources to the floors for the first two weeks of the rollout. “Having support staff that available helped us greatly with the challenges of learning a new system,” said Mary E. Harrison, RN, of Connors Center 10. “By the time the super users left, we were very much on board with eMAR,” she said. As Bane observed, “Staff are now readily consulting with one another to troubleshoot questions and calling the help desk if needed.”
As expected, the experience of the first users has also led to beneficial lessons as additional floors convert to eMAR. One big change is in getting used to eMAR's time requirement, according to Barbara Strong, RN, speaking for her colleagues on Connors Center 10. “It's been an adjustment, but going towards a better outcome - medication accuracy and greater patient safety,” she said.
“The rollout has also shown us just how much information is handed off between staff,” said Judy Hayes, RN, director of Professional Practice, Quality and Staff Development. “We are continuing to improve eMAR to capture all the information needed for safe medication administration,” she said.
EMAR will continue its expansion to the Tower 14th floor later in February, with other medical and surgical floors added at intervals thereafter and Oncology transitioning this fall. Thanks to eMAR facilitators and “early adopters” paving the way, future users of this promising patient safety system will have a little less of a learning curve as they make it a part of their daily work routines.