King’s Daughters boosts use of automation for med reconciliation

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King’s Daughters Medical Center is increasing its use of automation to reduce gaps in medication history and streamline its medication reconciliation.

The provider, located in Brookhaven, Miss., is taking steps to help doctors who increasingly need to know what medications are in the home and document the meds. Clinicians also want a way to record the information efficiently at the point of care and not slow down the time needed for a patient visit, says Joe Farr, clinical applications coordinator.

“Medication reconciliation is a critical patient safety process to avoid adverse drug events and is recommended every time a patient has a transition of care,” Farr says.

Having been a long-standing partner in vendor DrFirst, it made sense to look at the company’s SmartSig technology, which handles medication and reconciliation issues and also had an answer for a long-standing problem—importing prescription instructions, called sigs. This information typically is in unstructured free text, often with missing pieces of information and typically using a variety of synonyms for the same instructions—for example, with directions to give medication by mouth or orally.

Artificial intelligence in SmartSig can accurately address each of these issues so the electronic health record can use its converted data to trigger safety checks, such as for drug interactions or allergy alerts.

“This solution has significantly contributed to increased patient safety and improved health outcomes,” Farr contends. “In the first seven months following implementation of Smart Sig, our overall 30-day readmission rates decreased by 11 percent. Without having to manually enter SmartSig data and not using staff salaries, recapturing expenses and speeding visits, you can see the cost savings.”

Implementation of the software only took about an hour, with staff recording data in to the electronic health record according to Farr, and training sessions had few hiccups. “There was a general lack of post-live problems; it just works.”

Now, a new version of SmartSig accurately translates 91 percent of incoming medication sigs and saves about 30 seconds of work for each medication.

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