Nurses Discover Fewer Hospital Drug Errors with Barcode System
Posted on Jan 31, 2012
Nurses at Adirondack Medical Center are getting used to a new way to deliver healthcare: electronically.
The new barcode scanning technology is part of Adirondack Health’s new Bedside Medication Verification system at the Saranac Lake hospital. The program, designed to prevent nurses giving incorrect doses of medication, went on-line in all inpatient areas last September.
"We're checking every med with the patient's identification, so we aren't going to give any medications that aren't scheduled or ordered," said Kelly Burnett, an AMC registered nurse. "Less med errors, that's the primary use of it."
Under the BMV system, every patient receives a "unique identifier number" upon admission, which is a barcode printed on their wristband. All medication doses that come from the hospital pharmacy are also marked with their own individual barcodes. Barcode scanners are attached to computers on portable hospital carts, which nurses take with them on medication rounds.
Before a nurse administers medication, she scans the patient's wristband then scans the medication. The system checks the order against the physician’s instructions, which are entered into the machine electronically.
If the dose and the patient are a match, the nurse administers the medication; if there’s a problem, a warning message flashes on the screen.
In addition to reducing instances of "human error," Hospital Pharmacy Director Tom Smith also believes patients are happier because nurses now spend more time at their bedside.
"Before, the nurses really had to go back to a central medication room to get their meds," Smith said. "This whole system has helped moved the nurses closer to the bedside so they're not hiking down the hall anytime they need something."
Read More About Nurses Discover Fewer Hospital Drug Errors with Barcode System...