Author(s): Johansson PE, Petersson GI, Nilsson GC
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Abstract INTRODUCTION: Inappropriate medication among elderly people increases the risk of adverse drug-drug interactions, drug-related falls and hospital admissions. In order to prevent these effects it is necessary to obtain a profile of the patients' medication. A personal digital assistant (PDA) can be used as a medical decision support system (MDSS) to obtain a profile of the patients' medication and to check for inappropriate drugs and drug combinations, and to reduce medication errors. AIM: The aim of the present study was to evaluate nurses' experiences of using a MDSS in a PDA with a barcode reader, in order to obtain profiles of the patients' medication, regarding drug-drug interactions, therapeutic duplications, and warnings for drugs unsuitable for elderly in home care. METHODS: The LIFe-reader is a MDSS in a PDA with a barcode reader. By scanning the drug packages in the patients' home, the LIFe-reader obtained profiles of the patients' medication and checked for drug-drug interactions, therapeutic duplications and warnings for drugs unsuitable for elderly people. The LIFe-reader also contained, e.g. drug information and medical reference works. Nurses (n=15) used the LIFe-reader for five weeks during their nursing home care practice assignment. The nurses answered questionnaires about the content and functions of the LIFe-reader before, during and after the nursing home care practice assignment, and were interviewed in focus groups. Descriptive statistics were used and content analysis was applied for qualitative data. RESULTS: By using the LIFe-reader, the majority of the nurses found it easy to obtain profiles of the patients' medication and check for drug-drug interactions, therapeutic duplications and warnings for drugs unsuitable for elderly people. Most nurses regarded the LIFe-reader to reduce drug-related risks of falling, and some thought it could reduce the drug-related admissions to hospitals. The scanning function was described as easy and time saving, although not always possible to use. The LIFe-reader was regarded as a useful and user-friendly MDSS, but more content and functions were requested. CONCLUSIONS: We found that the LIFe-reader has the potential to be a useful and user-friendly MDSS for nurses in home care when obtaining profiles of the patients' medication regarding drug-drug interactions, therapeutic duplications and warnings for drugs unsuitable for elderly. A regular scanning of the patients' drugs in their home might support nurses and general practitioners (GPs) in reducing the inappropriate use of drugs. If the LIFe-reader should be used in a larger scale among nurses, more content and functions are necessary. (c) 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Int J Med Inform
and referenced in Journal of Health & Medical Informatics