Errors with Barcode Medication Administration
West Texas A&M
October 02, 2012
Medication errors are among the most significant cause of patient injury in all types of medical errors (Johnson, Carlson, Tucker, & Willette, n.d). In the nursing profession, medication administration errors occur 34% of the time, second only to physician ordering errors (Gooder, 2011). The introduction of information technology, such as the Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA), offers new opportunities for reducing medication administration errors. BCMA was developed by the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center in 1998 to help improve the documentation of medication administration, decrease medication errors and provide
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The problematic issue that is being seen in the BCMA system is the technology being misused by the nursing staff, either by failure to scan the patient or the medication or bypassing the system all together ("Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory," 2008). The BCMA system is good way of documenting and identifying the five rights of the administration of medication. It alerts the clinician of anything that does not match before any error can occur, however, the alerts may not be noticeable. For example, if the nurse uses the scanner but does not look at the computer screen for possible alerts, an error is likely to happen. Also the BCMA system cannot stop the administration of any medication, making it easy to “skip” the alerts and allowing the nurse to make errors. It also has been noted that nurses are bypassing the scanner option all together and simply entering a patient identification number and then proceeding to give a medication, putting the patient at risk for injury if the number is incorrectly input ("Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory," 2008).
A bar code system was implemented as a component of patient safety and should be utilized to its full potential. Medication administration errors have become one of the highest incidences of patient injury in a hospital