Going electronic

New grant set to revolutionise medication management in aged care facilities for patients, pharmacists and prescribers  

Residential aged care facilities are set to receive funding that will allow them to implement an Electronic National Residential Medication Chart (eNRMC) system.

The funding was part of the 2021-22 Federal Budget package to support improved medication management and patient safety in residential aged care facilities. 

Adoption of an eNRMC is optional, however use of these systems “is encouraged to ensure safe and accountable medication management,” according to a release issued by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) this week.

“The use of an eNRMC reduces medication errors and supports greater flexibility, communication and coordination between aged care staff, prescribers and suppliers, through access to real time information about medicines prescribed and administered to a resident,” the PBS said.

“eNRMC products have proven to provide significant benefits to residents, RACFs, prescribers and pharmacists”.

These benefits included:

  • Reduced medication safety risks due to inconsistencies between prescriber records and paper medication charts – and less time spent by suppliers reconciling these differences;
  • Increased visibility of a residents comprehensive medication record for prescribers, pharmacists and RACF staff;
  • Timely provision of medicines;
  • Prompts and alerts to advise of allergies or medication interactions, and reminders when a new prescription or follow up consultation is required;
  • Reduced administrative burden for RACFs, prescribers and pharmacists; and
  • Reductions in polypharmacy (individuals taking five or more daily medications).

The Department of Health and Australian Digital Health Agency are currently working with several vendors, supporting them to achieve conformance with the legislative and technical conformance requirements for eNRMCs (including the Electronic Prescribing – Conformance Profile v3.0).

Once conformant eNRMC systems are available, prescribers, pharmacists and RACFs will be able to use these systems to electronically prescribe, supply, claim and track administration of medicines for residents without requiring duplicate paper prescriptions.

RACFs which adopt one of these systems will be eligible for funding to assist defray the costs of adopting an eNRMC system, the PBS says.

The payment will be tiered to provide greater support to RACFs in rural and remote areas, and not for profit RACFs. The Department is currently defining the payment structure and mechanisms, and will provide information about how RACFs can access this funding as soon as it becomes available.

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