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What is an electronic MAR? An electronic MAR is an electronic medical administration record used by nurses in long term care facilities to ensure that medication is administered accurately and reliably. An electronic MAR can be installed in work computers or hand-held devices such as smartphones and tablets, enabling nurses to access patient records easily. The portability of such long term care software allows nurses to better care for their residents while ensuring the accuracy of nursing documentation.  

Benefits of EMAR Systems

Some of the benefits that nurses and physicians can expect from using EMAR systems in skilled nursing facilities include:

Exhausted female nurse who lacks access to an electronic MAR uses paper medical record while standing in office.
eMAR systems result in less stress for nurses as they can trust in the accuracy of their patient records.
  • Faster and more timely reports
  • Accelerated processes and increased staff efficiency
  • Fewer medication errors and missed dosages for residents in a long term care facility
  • More time allotted for delivering care to residents, as record updates and retrieval are faster
  • Less stress for nurses as they can trust in the accuracy of their patient records
  • Notifications, as an electronic medical administration record can warn nurses of potential drug interactions, preventing harm to the resident in the nursing home
  • Communication between the long term care facility and the pharmacy improves, resulting in better care plan management and reducing the chances of wrong medication orders
  • Real-time updates and supervision by leadership in a nursing home or SNF, enabling supervisors to quickly check on a resident’s care progress and make changes to documentation as needed
  • Easier implementation of audits and inventory controls for all medications used in the skilled nursing facility or nursing home.

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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Using an EMAR System

While using care plan software such as an EMAR system in a nursing home, nurses and physicians will, naturally, commit some errors. According to NHA, some examples of common mistakes that nurses will make include:

Physician talking to a resident about their prescribed medications by using eMAR systems.
Nurses and physicians need to be wary of prescription errors, as they can occur when the wrong information is entered into an electronic MAR.
  1. Patient or Resident Misidentification: Unfortunately, patient ID errors are very common in the healthcare industry. Patient misidentification errors can result in a nurse administering the wrong medication, thus causing harm to the patient or resident.
  2. Prescription Errors: According to Health IT Analytics, out of 889 reported events, nearly two-thirds of prescription errors took place during prescribing or transcribing. Nurses and physicians need to be wary of prescription errors, as they can occur when:
    • The wrong information is entered into an electronic MAR
    • The correct information is entered but in the wrong data field in the long term care software
    • Physicians ignore flags or warnings for drug interactions
  3. Billing Errors: Long term care facilities providing therapy services to their residents are often reimbursed by Medicare Part B. However, the billing process can be a complicated affair, with errors resulting in lower reimbursement rates for nursing homes. This is why nursing home software equipped with intuitive financial modules can prove to be invaluable, as they reduce the likelihood of billing errors.
  4. Cloning of Resident Information: Cloning resident information means copying and pasting resident information from previous records into new documentation in the E MAR software. While it may save nurses time, it can harm the resident in the long term when real-time data and information obtained from the resident are not recorded. This can significantly affect a resident’s care, for the resident’s current condition is not reflected in the electronic documentation
  5. Poor EMAR System Setup and Management: This is one of the worst mistakes one can make, as poorly setup nursing home software can significantly affect the day-to-day operations of a nursing home. Investing in eMAR Training is one way administrators can ensure that staff makes the most of their long term care software.

Steps Leadership Can Take in Electronic MAR Management

Nurse explaining medicine dosage to an elderly resident in a care facility using electronic MAR.
Leadership should always ensure an eMAR system is correctly set up and implemented after its purchase.

One of the best steps nursing home and SNF leadership can take to prevent errors while using electronic MAR is ensuring the long term care software is correctly set up and implemented after its purchase. Typically, this would be left to IT professionals, but it is best that nurses and physicians are present as well. This is because clinicians can test the software early on, ensuring it performs as expected. Of course, one must also never forget to train all relevant staff in using the software.

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Elijah Oling Wanga