The use of electronic MARs is growing exponentially in assisted living. EMARs have demonstrated improvement in efficiency as well as medication safety. Many providers are touting 17 percent or more improved efficiency when using EMAR. While the benefits of moving away from paper mar are many, providers must take certain steps to ensure compliance.
- Make sure you have partnered with a quality pharmacy with EMAR competency. Because the pharmacy is entering the orders on the MAR, their staff must be proficient in knowing the nuances of the EMAR program you have selected.
- Ensure privacy settings are in place. A cart in the hallway left unattended must have auto time out settings in place, or resident photo and private medical information can be easily read when the nurse or med tech has stepped away from the cart.
- Self review compliance points daily. At a click of a button you can view “holes in the MAR”, meaning meds were not properly signed off. Many surveyors now know how to quickly pull that report as well. Some errors such as this become more readily discoverable, making our shortcomings flagrant for a citation.
Not all EMAR systems are created equal. It is important that the system selected has a reliable track record. Also hardware selection should match the needs of the community. Many communities are opting for tablets that are easy to carry to the point of administration. Battery life of devices can be critical to success. Additionally thought must go into revamping polices so that staff can quickly refer to a policy manual that reflects the new emar system. Policies to consider when adding emar include review of medication entries, stat meds, when to print hard copies as well as contingency for emergency.