At a three hundred-bed community, hospital bar coding administration was implemented. This application was created and implemented by an IT representative, staff nurses, nursing and pharmacy administrators. These individuals initiated the process, by changing medication policies and procedures, downtime procedures, workflow designs, planning for nursing training, and changes to medication administration. With positive results bar-cod technology reduced medication errors by eighty percent. Implementing barcoding technology decreases medication administration errors in with in different care settings. Key words: Bar coding; Medication errors; Safety.
Medications errors continue to happen on the daily basis regardless of where you work. The effects on giving the wrong medication can result from mild to severe injures including death. Approximately 1.5 million Americans are injured each year because of medication errors (Coleman & Foote, 2008). Errors can occur throughout the process of ordering medicine, dispensing, retrieving and administrating. Bar coding is the new technique which can offer safe and allow nurses to verify the five rights of medication administration. A handheld barcode device is used to scan barcoded information on the nurses badge, patients armband ID and medication to identify the proper individuals, before medications are dispensed. The main purpose of barcoded medication administration is to decrease medication errors at bedside by helping to ensure proper medication administration. Working in the healthcare field it is crucial to pay attention to details.
Medication administration is a critical skill of the professional nurse, who must understand and follow various steps in the drug administration process to assure patient safety (Coleman & Foote, 2008). I chose this topic because I have been working as a Licensed practical nurse in long term care, which there we used paper Medication Administration Reports. As many nurses I have made a medication error which involved a patient who chose not to give me his proper name. I believe this would not have happen if patients could be identify by name bands or photos. In long term care facilities name bands are rarely used to identify these patients due to that the facilities are there home. During my clinical rotations I observed the different techniques used between Memorial and Penrose Hospital for administration of medications. Memorial Hospital continues to use the old fashion technique, while Penrose Hospital uses barcoding for dispensing of medications.
Barcoding was easy for me to manage and it ensured me that I was providing patient safety. Even though not having the barcoding assistance it made me double and triple check to make sure my patients was receiving the proper medications. While at Memorial Hospital one of my classmates made a medication error. The patients outcome in this situation appeared well. Personally, I feel that with the barcoding this situation may have never occurred. With that being said, I believe that Penrose Hospital have less medication errors than Memorial. The more knowledge I gain of bar coding and medication administration my patients will have safe positive outcomes. This article describes the bar code point of care, and cost of medications errors. The bar code system is designed to ensure that the right drug is being administered via the right route to the right patient in the right amount at the right time and documentation, the five rights of drug administration.
Errors occur for many reasons, including illegible handwritten prescriptions and decimal point errors. The problems with medication errors are that it often has tragic consequences for patients. Medication errors carry significant costs to patients, their families, and their employers, and to hospitals, health care providers, and insurance companies. Actual cost estimates differs widely. The bar code system is believed to be an effective way in preventing medication administration errors but is currently only implemented in approximately 3% of United States hospitals. Barcoding patients and medications can help prevent dangerous medical errors by making accurate and reliable patient information immediately available for medication administration, surgical procedures specimen collection, and any other patient care activity throughout the hospital stay.
Bar-coding technology has reduced medications errors by 80 %( Coleman & Foote, 2008). Still, even with this system errors can and do occur. The information provided in this article is very useful in nursing practice. Nursing practice will influence standards on patients care and outcomes .Nurses can use bar code scanning systems to view medication orders at the bedside, verify the five rights of medication administration, and document medication administration electronically. Nurses can learn more information about bar coding and the implementation process. If nurses are not aware of the situation errors will continue to occur such as a patient was ordered for a now dose of Thorazine (chlorpromazine) 25 mg. The pharmacy filled the order and dispensed Librium (chlordiazepoxide) 25 mg.
The nurse used the electronic scanner, and the device indicated a wrong drug error. The nurse looked at the drug, thought the name was correct, and overrode the device and administered the incorrect medication. If nurses decide not to check orders names and dosages errors will continue to reach patient and cause harm. Nurses need to begin to advocate the importance of being free of medication errors. Scanning medications do help prevent administration errors but mistakes can still be made.
I know of hospitals in my state of Colorado that have purchased the Barcode Scanning system, after tragic events happened in these hospitals. We have two good sized hospital systems in our area, out of these only one has the barcode scanning system. If I ever need to be hospitalized, that is the one I have instructed my family to take me to. I do believe this system has saved lives, and decreased medication errors. Nurses use their knowledge to empower others and drive system change. Nursing knowledge is evidence based, active, and lifelong learning is required for safe positive outcomes. The future holds many new technological advances that will impact nursing work force.
Coleman, J, Foote, S. (2008). Medication Administration: The Implementation Process of Bar- Coding for Medication Administration to Enhance Medication Safety. Nursing Economics. 26(3), 207-10.