The advancement of technology has not left the healthcare sector untouched, rather it has permeated through every facet of it. One of the most innovative technologies adopted in this domain is Electronic Health Records (EHR), with its digital solutions such as the Electronic Medication Administration Record (eMAR) and Electronic Prescribing (ePrescribe). These systems have not only changed how healthcare facilities function but also how medication administration and prescription processes are managed and recorded.
eMAR and ePrescribe may sound very similar, but they offer different, though equally important, functionalities in enhancing patient safety and an agency’s operational efficiency. The real-time recording and tracking enabled by these systems have been instrumental in preventing medication errors, one of the biggest challenges in the healthcare sector.
As practicing healthcare providers, it is important to understand these systems and how they relate. Only with this understanding can you leverage the technology to ensure the right medication is given at the right time, without any usability issues or administration errors. If you’re navigating the EHR market and looking for features to fit your needs, likely, Electronic Prescribing (ePrescribe) and/or the Electronic Medication Administration Record (eMAR) might be the solutions you’re after. ePrescribe and the eMAR offer two different types of functionality that might be relevant to your agency. So what are they – and how do they differ?
What is ePrescribe (eRx)?
Electronic Prescribing, or ePrescribe, is a fully digital solution for medication orders and prescriptions. It allows physicians, medical practitioners, and psychiatrists to send patient prescriptions, including dosage, frequency, and strength, to a preferred pharmacy in real-time, without having to fax or call it in. It’s designed to enhance the medication process, reduce prescription errors, and contribute significantly to resident safety.
ePrescribe works similarly to the eMAR system but with a focus more on the prescribing aspect of medication management. It uses an intuitive electronic device interface rather than paper prescriptions, allowing healthcare providers to transmit a prescription directly to a patient’s preferred pharmacy. Connecting the point of care directly to the pharmacy improves communication and collaboration; decreases the risk of medical error or prescription fraud; minimizes the risk of drug-to-drug or drug allergy interaction; and improves medication adherence.
ePrescribe systems have a crucial function for healthcare facilities, ensuring that the correct medication information is recorded and sent to a pharmacy without delay or misinterpretation. This leads to improved healthcare quality and patient satisfaction since prescriptions can be prepared in advance, and patients can pick them up at their convenient pharmacies. In addition to accurate prescriptions, some ePrescribe systems also offer decision support tools. These tools can automatically check for adverse drug reactions, allergies, or limitations of the insurance coverage that the patient might have.
When integrated with an EHR, you can manage medications, view patient history, and send prescriptions – all from one place! If you are a psychiatrist or a clinician who is responsible for prescribing medication, your practice may benefit greatly from e-prescribing.
What is eMAR?
The eMAR (electronic Medication Administration Record) is a software solution that electronically documents medication administration, vital signs, and other client observations. The eMAR system works in real time, recording the different stages of medication distribution, from prescribing to administration. Every time a resident is given their medication, the medication dosage, time, resident information, and the care provider who administered it are logged into the system. This log can be accessed using a user-friendly interface either on a mobile app or a computer.
The features embedded within an eMAR solution, like electronic tracking sensors, patient reminders, or vital signs monitoring, can vary depending on the provider. However, all eMAR systems primarily achieve the same result: improved resident safety and better medication management. The eMAR software can document when – where – to whom – by whom – and the dosage of a medication that’s administered; and is often connected to inventory, helping to prevent drug fraud and/or abuse within a facility. This type of tracking is also vital for audits and supporting documentation for treatment plans.
Transparency and proper record-keeping are further big advantages of the eMAR system. It provides easier access and a clear overview of a patient’s current medication regime, history, and changes in prescription, helping minimize medication errors. Moreover, the use of eMAR leads to operational efficiency, saving valuable time for the staff members by eliminating the need for time-consuming end-of-shift reconciliations typically required with paper records.
eMAR technology is a game-changer for several areas of health care, especially care homes and facilities specializing in mental health therapies. In these facilities, keeping track of medication orders, resident needs or changes, and clinical actions can be a daunting task due to the large number of patients. eMAR simplifies these tasks, leading to improved patient outcomes and fewer incorrect dosages.
The eMAR is compliant with federal regulations and is a safe & secure way to reduce the amount of time spent on documentation. Organizations that administer medication may want to consider an EHR with eMAR functionality to help improve the quality of client care and streamline workflow
Key Differences Between eMAR and ePrescribe
Focus and Primary Function
While both eMAR and ePrescribe systems are designed to enhance the medication process in healthcare, their focus differs. eMAR is centered around the administration of medication. It tracks the medication process from prescription to consumption, ensuring accurate recording along the way. On the other hand, ePrescribe is primarily for prescribing medications. It is designed to transmit prescriptions directly, securely, and accurately from the healthcare provider to the pharmacy.
Users and Stakeholders Involved
eMAR is typically used within a healthcare facility. It involves healthcare providers, nurses, and pharmacists. These stakeholders utilize eMAR to ensure accurate and safe dispensing of medication to patients. ePrescribe mainly involves healthcare providers and pharmacies. It is used to transmit medication orders or prescriptions directly to the patient’s preferred pharmacy.
Workflow and Process Overview
The eMAR process includes recording the administration of medication in real time to ensure patient safety. It provides healthcare providers with valuable information, such as the right medication to be given and the right time for administration.
In contrast, the ePrescribe process typically begins when a healthcare provider enters a prescription into the system. This prescription is then sent electronically to the patient’s preferred pharmacy. The aim here is to streamline the prescription process and to overcome the challenges associated with paper prescriptions.
Integration with Other Healthcare Technologies
eMAR needs to be integrated with systems that handle patient records, while ePrescribe must be able to communicate with external pharmacies and align with their systems. IT supporters and end-users need to fully understand the functionalities and features of these two systems to implement them effectively. With the right expertise and support, like that provided by PIMSY EHR, the integration process can be seamless and the benefits can be maximized.
How Both Systems Contribute to Medication Safety and Efficiency
Both ePrescribe and eMAR are designed to enhance patient safety and reduce medication errors. They do this by minimizing the need for manual data input and transmission, thereby reducing confusion and mix-ups. Both systems improve efficiency in different phases of the medication process – ePrescribe improves the prescribing process, while eMAR improves the administration process.
Furthermore, both systems share a common goal: to provide reliable, user-friendly, and efficient digital solutions for healthcare providers. They both improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare professionals, improve patient outcomes, and foster better delivery of care.
As leading providers of EHR software with a primary focus on mental and behavioral health, we at PIMSY EHR understand the complexities and challenges confronted by mental healthcare providers. Our all-in-one solution is designed to integrate seamlessly with clearinghouses and HIEs, among others, eliminating billing discrepancies and potential care coordination roadblocks. Your journey towards efficient healthcare delivery starts with PIMSY EHR.
To discover how we can help your institution navigate the world of electronic records and prescriptions, feel free to contact our team.