Use of Information Technology for Medication Management in Residential Care Facilities: Correlates of Facility Characteristics


The effectiveness of information technology in resolving medication problems has been well documented. Long-term care settings such as residential care facilities (RCFs) may see the benefits of using such technologies in addressing the problem of medication errors among their resident population, who are usually older and have numerous chronic conditions. The aim of this study was two-fold: to examine the extent of use of Electronic Medication Management (EMM) in RCFs and to analyze the organizational factors associated with the use of EMM functionalities in RCFs. Data on RCFs were obtained from the 2010 National Survey of Residential Care Facilities. The association between facility, director and staff, and resident characteristics of RCFs and adoption of four EMM functionalities was assessed through multivariate logistic regression. The four EMM functionalities included were maintaining lists of medications, ordering for prescriptions, maintaining active medication allergy lists, and warning of drug interactions or contraindications. About 12 % of the RCFs adopted all four EMM functionalities. Additionally, maintaining lists of medications had the highest adoption rate (34.5 %), followed by maintaining active medication allergy lists (31.6 %), ordering for prescriptions (19.7 %), and warning of drug interactions or contraindications (17.9 %). Facility size and ownership status were significantly associated with adoption of all four EMM functionalities. Medicaid certification status, facility director’s age, education and license status, and the use of personal care aides in the RCF were significantly associated with the adoption of some of the EMM functionalities. EMM is expected to improve the quality of care and patient safety in long-term care facilities including RCFs. The extent of adoption of the four EMM functionalities is relatively low in RCFs. Some RCFs may strategize to use these functionalities to cater to the increasing demands from the market and also to provide better quality of care.

Publication Title

Journal of Medical Systems