Maintaining a compliant and high level of service in 29 care homes is a challenge. Errors can be made by the individual carers and nurses who oversee medication orders, the administering of medication, and the provision of correct care and treatment. This is because they have traditionally used paper systems. Paper systems have no backup, records can be easily damaged and they are prone to mistakes such as inaccurate recordings, signature failings and mistakes in time keeping. Added to this, the paper-based medicines management process is simple but time consuming, with staff spending at least four hours a day on medicines related activities. Somerset Care trialled several electronic medicines management systems to reduce errors and improve compliance. Early trials involved a system on a laptop with a connected barcode scanner, which proved to be sub-optimal. Nurses had to position the laptop and scanner on top of a medication trolley, making it difficult to administer medicines to residents. The scanning device was also challenging to use - it was time consuming and clunky to scan the medication and staff struggled to manoeuvre the heavy laptop which was secured to a trolley. Laptops were also not waterproof and had to be charged after each round. A second trial on a consumer tablet was carried out over six months. The significant obstacle with this trial was that all staff had the same log in details. From a governance point of view, Somerset Care were unable to identify staff accountability and in addition, the device did not have a built-in scanner meaning staff members had to type in all barcodes which was time consuming. The device was also not fit for the care home environment - it could be easily damaged by being dropped or through water contact.
Somerset Care trialled the second-generation Pro-active Care System (PCS) provided by Invatech on a MioCARE™ A235 tablet. The trial, in three care homes over a three-month period, impressed not only because of the support provided by Invatech, but also because the MioCARE™ A235 was well suited to the care home environment – it has integrated barcode scanning, is waterproof, portable, anti-microbial, drop proof, and is easy to use with its Android OS and a 5.7” screen to view the PCS system. Due to the success of the trial, the PCS software on the MioCARE™ A235 was rolled out to all 29 care homes.
There are now 60 tablets across 29 homes, delivering significant benefits for Somerset Care. In terms of corporate governance, the data generated on medicines management for each care home can be collected and presented on a secure website called Invalife. This allows care home managers to have greater visibility on medicines management of each resident, as well as staff performance in relation to medicines related activities. At group level, medicine data can be categorised and measured, enabling each care home to have a score on medicines management. This score is known as the “Beacon Score” which allows clinical directors and medicines leads at a group level visibility on individual care home performance in relation to medicines management. At any one time, they are three clicks away from seeing underperformance, number of errors and individual responsibility.