New initiative for collection of patients’ med history
December 6, 2023
VANCOUVER – Health technology pioneer DrFirst Healthcare Innovations has partnered with Southlake Regional Health Centre to pilot a ground-breaking new initiative to modernize how hospitals collect and confirm patients’ medications within their MEDITECH Expanse electronic health record (EHR).
Using DrFirst’s MedHx powered by SmartSuite, Southlake clinicians now have instant access to information about patients’ prescriptions directly from participating community pharmacies and the Ontario provincial drug information system, helping to improve the medication reconciliation process, reducing time spent on these activities by 64% overall, based on data DrFirst compiled during the pilot.
Medication reconciliation is a vital patient safety practice that helps avoid medication errors and hospitalizations while lowering the length of stay. In hospitals and health systems, medication reconciliation is performed when patients come to the emergency department and at transitions of care including patient admissions and discharge and is an important element in hospital accreditation. As part of the process, clinicians collect patients’ medication history to inform prescribing decisions and avoid errors. But in many cases, patients may not remember or be able to communicate all the details about the medicines they are taking, and if the pharmacies or clinics are closed, gathering this information can be delayed for several hours.
For Southlake, as with other hospitals in Canada, these challenges are compounded by labour-intensive and time-consuming manual processes that contribute to delays in medication reconciliation which can negatively impact the patient experience.
In a study held in June 2023 with the integrated AI solution, DrFirst found significant time savings, including:
- 70% reduction in medication entry time
- 60% reduction in data collection and patient interview time
“Access to electronic medication history data means patients are safer because medication reconciliation can be completed at hospital admission, instead of hours later after waiting for faxes and other vital pieces of information,” said Jennifer Daley-Morris (pictured), pharmacy director, Southlake Regional Health Centre. “We are already seeing tremendous improvements in efficiency and the patient experience.”
The initiative is a unique approach that combines medication data from numerous sources and improves it with AI that is designed for use in healthcare. With the connection to Ontario’s Digital Health Drug Repository (DHDR) as the primary data source, MedHx completes the information with details from local pharmacies, organizes and matches the data automatically, and integrates it for use within Southlake’s MEDITECH Expanse EHR.
MedHx pulls together medication history data from multiple sources and uses clinical-grade artificial intelligence (AI) to clean it and standardize prescription instructions, so the information works within Southlake’s MEDITECH Expanse EHR to trigger automatic safety alerts and inform medication therapy decisions. DrFirst’s patented AI translates detailed prescription instructions into the hospital’s preferred nomenclature without imposing new terminology standards and safely fills in missing information based on the clinical context.
“Congratulations to Southlake for piloting this initiative with DrFirst that reduces the amount of time spent on medication reconciliation while improving its safety,” said Nick Palmieri, regional sales director, Canada, MEDITECH. “One of the key benefits of Expanse is that it is a platform designed for innovation and can integrate new technologies that further advance care delivery, safety, and efficiency.”
To power up its medication history with additional data and increase efficiency for pharmacies as well as hospitals, DrFirst Healthcare Innovations is collaborating with HealthChain, an Ontario-based medication management software provider, to enroll community pharmacies in the initiative.
“Busy pharmacies benefit from this initiative because clinicians aren’t interrupting pharmacy workflow with multiple faxes and inquiries to confirm patients’ medication history,” added Nick Zamora, HealthChain CEO. “We are committed to connecting with all the pharmacies in the community to increase the value of this program for hospitals, pharmacies, and patients.”
With the success of the pharmacy team’s pilot focusing on inpatient admissions from the ER, Southlake is looking to extend the use of the program to additional areas of the hospital.
About DrFirst Healthcare Innovations
Since 2000, healthcare IT pioneer DrFirst has empowered providers and patients to achieve better health through intelligent medication management and has been active in Canada since 2015 via its wholly-owned subsidiary, DrFirst Healthcare Innovations. We improve healthcare efficiency and effectiveness by enhancing e-prescribing workflows, improving medication history, optimizing clinical data usability, and helping patients start and stay on therapy. In the last few years, DrFirst has won over 25 awards for excellence and innovation, including winning Gold in the prestigious Edison Awards in 2023, recognizing our game-changing use of clinical-grade AI to streamline time-consuming healthcare workflows and prevent medication errors. Our solutions are used by more than 350,000 prescribers, 71,000 pharmacies, 270 EHRs and health information systems, and over 2,000 hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. To learn more, visit DrFirst.ca or DrFirst.com and follow @DrFirst.