The difference between electronic medication management and electronic medication administration records
anna turbak charles
October 12, 2021
Researcher | Stu Prince

Introducing eMAR

eMAR, or Electronic Medication Administration Record, has grown in prevalence in the care sector over recent years, along with a number of other digital systems. Electronic care planning has been with us a long time, but often cost (and perhaps a bit of technophobia) have put many off engaging with some digital products. But things are changing – tech is becoming more affordable and its prevalence in our everyday lives makes us fear it a bit less.

So, what is eMAR exactly?

In simple terms, it’s a digital version of a standard paper MAR chart that you can use to record medication administration in a care home or in a home care service This includes the type and dose of medication given timings and whether it was actually taken or not. It’s linked to a service user’s record and is a secure system, so only those with authorisation can view or edit it. Some eMAR systems can even be linked to a pharmacy so that meds can be restocked automatically when they run low in a service.

How does it work?

eMAR is used to make medication administration easier and more efficient by helping to:

  • Improve processes
  • Eliminate errors
  • Reduce risk.

Example

A senior staff member creates a medication profile for a person within the eMAR system. This needs to detail the type of drugs, dose, timings and how they are to be administered. This information is then available on the service’s main computer, and is also pushed automatically via an app to staff’s mobile phones or tablets, so they can view them on their rounds in a care home or for them to view when they attend a home care visit. This gives care workers access to information about medications that they can be sure is accurate and up to date.

In other words:

  • They can then record when medication is administered and add any relevant notes, such as medication being refused and the reason why
  • This information is automatically added to the MAR chart
  • This means the manager, or office staff, can immediately be made aware and updated, enabling them to make any changes required and get sign off for them in real-time.

What are the benefits of eMAR?

1. Reduction in medication errors

Information about required medications is kept continuously up-to-date, so you’ll always have the most recent information. Recording notes electronically also reduces the number of mistakes caused by ineligible handwriting and the risk of missed or incorrect dosages. Coded inputs mean medication can be recorded on eMAR the same way it is on paper MAR sheets. For example, if a client refuses the medication, this can be recorded with a simple code and any notes added by the care worker can also then be seen by others with the authority to access the system.

In the event an error is made in the system, the incorrect data can be corrected and updated with notes regarding the outcome, storing a full history of the error and subsequent actions taken. No more complicated amendments to paper versions and paper trails to be carefully filed!

2. Real-time monitoring

This leads to instantly updated information and reduction in errors, so a greater safety for clients.

3. Less paperwork

Using an electronic system reduces the amount of paperwork as many pieces of information can be pre-set from data held in the system. For example, in Log My Care’s system, dosages can be pre-set for a particular type of medication, rather than having to check and write it out for every type manually. All of this helps save time for staff who can then move on to other tasks and spend more time with clients.

4. Easier reporting

Reporting can be tailored to the type of information needed and used either internally or even to demonstrate compliance to the CQC or commissioners.

5. Secure data storage

There’s also the improved security. Storing information digitally within the cloud and using strict access protocols means a much higher level of security, than keeping paper MAR charts in a folder in a client’s home, transporting them between visits, or even keeping them in a filing cabinet in the office of a care home.

Do you need lots of expertise to use eMAR?

eMAR is very easy to use and Log My Care’s system can be used by staff with virtually no experience in digital tech – as long as you can use a mobile phone, then you can use this!

To get started, you’ll need:

  • A smartphone to download the eMAR app
  • A small amount of mobile dataTo keep your smartphone up-to-date
  • Decide whether to provide staff with mobile devices or ask staff to use their own.

eMAR works best when coupled with an electronic care planning system such as Log my Care, as specific information detailed in a person’s Medication Care Plan, such as their independence level with medication, or any behavioural issue around meds for example, can be automatically pulled into the app.

Introducing the system to your service in an inclusive and sensitive way, will help set you up for success Answering staff questions and letting them have a go using dummy information, will all help staff get used to the technology.

Give it a go

Over the last decade, eMAR has grown in popularity throughout the care sector, and will continue to grow in use. If you want to start saving time and improving the accuracy and efficiency of your medication administration, Log my Care’s eMAR system is the perfect place to start. Better yet, it comes with a free 30-day trial, so you can make sure it’s the right system for your care service.