Recognizing the Institutional Benefits of Bar-Code Point-of-Care Technology
Authors: Larrabee, Susanne; Brown, Mary-Michael
Source: Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, Volume 29, Number 7, July 2003 , pp. 345-353(9)
Publisher: Joint Commission Resources
Abstract:Background: The application of bar-code technology to medication administration is growing, and its benefits are increasingly recognized. This article describes a hospital's experience with bar-code point-of-care (BPOC) technology and discusses the benefits of BPOC, considers the essential role of the pharmacist when implementing BPOC in a hospital setting, and provides a financial model for cost avoidance using a BPOC system.
Implementing BPOC: In 1998 Northern Michigan Regional Health System (Petoskey, Mich) partnered with a software company to create a BPOC system. Major milestones associated with implementation were involving and preparing end users, examining the hospital's entire medication process, updating the formulary and mapping drugs accurately, and identifying a process to maximize bar-code label attachment to medications.
Results: Visibility of prevented errors increased as compared with occurrence reports. Among the prevented errors, approximately 25% of the not-due errors occurred between shifts or between caregivers; wrongdose errors included nurse attempts to give one tablet when two were ordered and giving two tablets when one was ordered; and wrong-patient errors were predominantly associated with intravenous piggyback medications. Omitted doses or missed doses were virtually eliminated by BPOC.
Discussion: A BPOC system provides a much-needed safety net at the bedside to avert potentially injurious medication errors. Another benefit that a BPOC system provides is a record of actual medication administrations. Conducting a thorough assessment of a hospital's readiness for a BPOC system will guide system implementation and help avoid potential installation pitfalls.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: July 1, 2003
- Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.
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