Cindy J. Aguinaga
Professor Angela Scott
February 18, 2015
Abstract There have been serious common medication errors in hospitals across the nation. Most often these errors are the administration of medications, order transcription or prescription is not legible. To prevent errors such as these, bar coding technology has been implemented. The Institute of Medicine’s Preventing Medication Errors report states, "The average hospitalized patient is subject to at least one medication error per day. This technology confirms previous research findings that medication errors represent the most common patient safety error,” (Barnsteiner, 2006). Technology has developed software to improve the safety of medication administration, as well as creating online medication records for patients. Nurses are frontline of medication administration; therefore precise electronic medication administration record (eMAR) is key to patient safety. Medication administration barcode software enables the nurse or any healthcare provider to document and administer medications at the patient’s bedside. If an error occurs, an alert will pop up for any possible errors. Leah Binder states, “According to a new study just out from the prestigious Journal of Patient Safety, four times as many people die from preventable medical errors than we thought, as many as 440,000 a year” (Forbes, 2013). Implementing barcode technology decreases medication administration errors within different care settings. As proven by positive results, barcode technology reduced medication errors by eighty percent (Coleman & Foote, 2008). Key words: bar coding, medication errors, safety.
Bar Coding Implementation for Medication On a daily basis regardless where you work medication errors continue to happen. The administration of medications using bar codes on both the patient’s wristband and the medication is to ensure correct medication administration. According to Coleman & Foote (2008), “Approximately 1.5 million Americans are injured each year because of medication errors.” Giving the wrong medication can result in injuries from mild to severe, including death. Throughout the process of ordering, dispensing, retrieving and administering medications errors can occur. The Joint Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations has recognized that adverse drug events have doubled mortality and length of stay in hospitalized patients (Joint Commission website, 2015). It is crucial for the healthcare provider to pay attention to such details as in the administration of medications. Technology has come a long way in the area of medication administration. The software designed for bar code systems is to ensure the “five rights” of drug administration, that the right drug is given via the right route to the right patient in the right amount and at the right time and documented correctly at the actual time. Prior to bar coding and eMAR many errors were due to illegible handwritten prescriptions, misplaced decimal point, written orders by the physician or nurse. These types of errors have often caused tragic consequences for the patient. Medication errors carry significant costs to patients, their families, and their employers, and to hospitals, healthcare providers, and insurance companies. The healthcare facility needs to have electronic health record (EHR) implemented, and this comes with a cost. Capital purchases consisted of the BCMA hardware, such as computers, servers, carts to move the computers from room to room, handheld bar-code scanners, and auxiliary computer batteries to ensure a consistent power supply. Also included were the software licenses, interfaces with other computer applications, ongoing maintenance/service support contracts for BCMA, and other systems and supplies necessary to make BCMA operational. Infrastructure capital investments such as building wireless