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Knowledge Transfer project underway to use data for safer medicines management

Knowledge Transfer project underway to use data for safer medicines management

A Knowledge Transfer project is underway, exploring ways to use data analytics to support medicines management in care and nursing homes.

Cardiff University and ATLAS eMAR, a healthcare technology company, are working together to develop a new data analytic platform.

We spoke to Dr Fiona Headley, Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate and Medicines Data Analyst at Cardiff University. We wanted to find out more about the project and what it means for the future of medicines management.


What is the issue with medicines management?

Many residents in care homes are taking multiple medications. The greater number of medicines someone takes increases the risk of errors, which can have devasting outcomes. Medicines management is complex, so our project is all about using technology to help providers with safety and efficiency.

Social care is always under a huge amount of pressure – both in terms of finances and staff time. So, any efficiencies and cost savings, as well as improving individual outcomes, is really important.


Tell us more about the project

The project has been made possible by a government initiative via Innovate UK to encourage commercial companies and academia to work together. The idea is to help develop innovative solutions and fast track there use in wider society.

A grant has been awarded to ATLAS eMAR and Cardiff University, which supports my work for this three-year project. We’ve come together to look at ATLAS eMAR’s electronic medicines management system. Our idea is to explore ways to make better use of the medicines prescribing, dispensing and administration data that we collect from the system. We want to see how we can monitor, report, and predict better care for residents.


What are you developing?

We’re looking at medicines from a variety of perspectives, including care home professionals and pharmacists. We are currently developing a data analytic platform for care homes, using the ATLAS Scorecard as a starting point. This is a data analytic platform already in use that examines staff performance and how the ATLAS system is being used in the home.

We’re working out how providers are currently doing their auditing as we’d like the platform to be able to reduce the amount of time auditing takes. Auditing takes substantial time away from managers when they could be doing other things, plus a computer can do many aspects of it for them!


How is the project progressing?

Last year I spent a lot of time meeting social care providers and researching how medicines are currently being managed. I’ve been looking at things like the administration of medication that can’t be delayed, such as insulin and Parkinson’s medication, which must be taken at a particular time. I’m identifying a way to calculate the percentage of medication that’s given at the right time and how long the gap is. Often issues aren’t picked up until monthly audits, but we want to help to identify these earlier.

Now, I’m in the process of mocking up prototypes of the platform. We were due to start demonstrating prototypes before COVID hit, so I’m hoping to pick this up again soon. We are hoping the platform will be ready for piloting around February next year.


What are your hopes for the future of this project?

Personally, my optimal goal is for people to have a better experience with their medications and improve outcomes. If they need a medication, then they will get it as it was intended. If not, then people can easily see it’s a problem and can investigate why.

From ATLAS eMAR’s perspective this KTP represents moving the sector in to the next paradigm of digitisation, which is to use data to predict outcomes and put in place early interventions to ensure the outcomes are successful.


If any care homes are interested in participating in the KTP project please get in contact with Fiona at [email protected]

We’ll be watching the progress of this project with interest. For more information about the project, visit www.invatechhealth.com/resources/blog

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