One year since Campbellford Memorial Hospital (CMH) launched its new electronic health record system (EPIC), RPN John Dee appreciates how the new system supports his work, reduces errors, and improves patient safety.
“It was difficult to navigate at first because it was new for everyone,” shared John, who has worked at CMH for 10 years. “I now feel more comfortable and confident doing my job efficiently – it gives you another layer of security that you’re administering the right medication to the right patient, for example.”
As part of the EPIC launch in December 2021, the clinical team transitioned from paper-based medication administration to barcode medication administration. This change has increased medication safety, created efficiencies for staff, and allowed nurses more time with the patient at the bedside.
“It has been a big change for staff, and it took a full change management process to have the team using it to its full capability,” said Nicole Wood, VP of Patient Care, and Chief Nursing Officer, CMH.
Before the new system, nurses received medication orders from physicians via transcription and had to do a visual verification of the medication, which added extra time and increased the risk of errors. With EPIC, nurses scan the patient’s wristband at the bedside and scan the prescribed medication to confirm it’s the right patient, the right medication, and whether any allergies may contradict the medication.
John echoed that the change to bar code administration was not easy at first but worth it. “Our team encountered challenges with this change – it added new steps to our routine, some team members were not tech-savvy and needed more support, and we had to resolve technology disruptions. But, now that we’re through this process, it’s a great tool to support our work, makes patient information more accessible, and makes it easier to communicate with the team through the handheld devices.”
John isn’t alone – the adoption rate of EPIC’s bar code administration has increased significantly in the past couple of months.
“The initial adoption rate wasn’t great, but we’ve gotten to our target utilization level,” said Nicole. “Our clinical leadership team monitored utilization metrics and met with each staff member individually to understand the barriers and provided one-on-one coaching to give them the specific support they needed to get through this significant change.”
Nicole added: “Now that we’ve worked through the challenges, the barcode administration is making medication administration faster and safer and freeing up the nurses’ time for patient care.”