Study concludes that Invatech's ground-breaking ATLAS eMAR technology virtually eradicates medicines management errors in care homes
The results of a study carried out by Cardiff University into efficiencies at 30 care homes were presented at a symposium University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences on 27 January 2016. The evaluation showed that Invatech's ATLAS family of eMAR products significantly improves the medicines management processes at care homes in which it has been implemented. The potential of ATLAS to reduce prescription drug wastage was also highlighted by the study. The researchers compared paper-based medicine administration records (MAR) with ATLAS eMAR and in particular ATLAS PCS.
The ATLAS eMAR family of products are a comprehensive medicines management system for care homes. ATLAS allows care homes to manage the booking in of medication, reordering and providing alerts when levels are running low. It also provides real-time information to pharmacists who can check for prescribing errors.
Delegates included representatives from the Welsh government, NHS England, care home regulators and pharmacists. The 16 pharmacists who participated in the study reported that they had, on average, to intervene in 80% of prescriptions for the care homes they supplied.
Pharmacist Jonathon Smith, a panel member at the symposium, has been using the ATLAS products to service three care homes for almost a year. He said:
“I can’t fault the ATLAS System. You feel confident when you’re dispensing a prescription. The fact that you can send medicines out knowing that an error can’t be made, and the care home can’t do anything you haven’t pre-authorised, is a real comfort.”
Based on the reduction in the number of returned medicines and the overstocks seen in care homes during the trial period, it is estimated the system could generate annual savings of £3.2 million and £4.6 million respectively if used across all of Wales’ care beds.
Jane Soltys from Washington Pharmacy in Penarth, said:
“We work with one care home that still uses a paper-based system. At the end of the month they send us a phenomenal amount of waste. But for the homes using the ATLAS system we can check what medicine they are ordering and whether or not they have it in stock. We can intervene if necessary to tell them they don’t need to order it. The difference in waste is absolutely incredible.”
Abigail Philips, head of the Healthcare Technology programme for the Welsh Government, said she would share the study’s results wider within government, in particular with the minister for health and social services and the chief pharmaceutical officer. According to Abigail Philips:
“[the study has] proved that the ATLAS eMAR can deliver a reduction in medication errors in care homes… This will assist in reducing admission rates to hospital for adverse reactions to medications and incorrect dosages.”
Fellow panel member Ashleigh Askew and team Leader at Bethany Care Home in Chepstow said:
“The ATLAS eMAR system is so much more reliable, quicker and safer. The staff feel much more confident knowing that they can’t make a mistake. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.”
Commenting on the study’s results, Elen Jones, Policy Advisor for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Wales said: "It’s great to see how IT solutions could benefit the safe administration of medicines in care homes".
“It’s something we want to delve into a lot deeper with our policy to see if any recommendations can be made on the use of IT in care homes.”
Tariq Muhammed, CEO of Invatech, said:
“Invatech is proud to have been associated with this project and the Welsh initiative. The research by the School of Pharmacy is vital, providing independent evidence of improved safety and medicines management through the use of technology.”