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Impact of Bar-code Medication Administration on Medication Administration Best Practices

BOWERS, ANNA MARY MSN, BSN, RN; GODA, KAREN BA, ND, RN-BC; BENE, VICTORIA RN; SIBILA, KATHERINE BSN, RN; PICCIN, RITA BS, ND, RN; GOLLA, SHERRY BSN, RN; DANI, FALGUNI MSN, BSN, RN; ZELL, KATRINA MA, MS

CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing: November 2015 - Volume 33 - Issue 11 - p 502–508
doi: 10.1097/CIN.0000000000000198
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Medication errors in hospitals are common and often lead to patient harm, contributing to increased costs and hospital length of stay. Bar-code medication administration can improve patient safety by leveraging technology to improve accuracy throughout the medication administration process. This study was designed to determine whether implementation of a bar-code medication administration process could improve the safety of medication administration. Researchers used a pre-post comparative design to describe the workflow process of nurses during medication administration before and after implementation of a pilot bar-code medication administration process. It was proposed that implementation of bar-code medication administration would increase real-time medication administration documentation, decrease medication administration–related errors, increase Workstation on Wheels usage at the bedside for medication administration, and increase use of the electronic medication administration record for medication retrieval. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize data and assess differences in distributions between preimplementation and postimplementation phases. There was a marked increase in use of the Workstation on Wheels at the bedside as well as real-time documentation. Use of the electronic medication administration record to retrieve medications did not increase after implementation. Medication errors showed a slight rate increase after bar-code medication administration was introduced.

Author Affiliations: Office of Nursing Informatics (Mss Bowers, Goda, Bene, Sibila, Piccin, Golla, and Dani) and Department of Quantitative Health Services, Cleveland Clinic (Ms Zell), OH.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationship with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Corresponding author: Anna Mary Bowers, MSN, BSN, RN, 13820 Stoney Creek Dr, North Royalton, OH 44133 (annamaryb@yahoo.com).

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