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Bar-code Verification: Reducing but not Eliminating Medication Errors

Henneman, Philip L. MD; Marquard, Jenna L. PhD; Fisher, Donald L. PhD; Bleil, Justin BS; Walsh, Brendan BS; Henneman, Justin P. MS; Blank, Fidela S. MS, RN; Higgins, Ann Marie RN; Nathanson, Brian H. PhD; Henneman, Elizabeth A. PhD, RN

Journal of Nursing Administration: December 2012 - Volume 42 - Issue 12 - p 562–566
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e318274b545

Using observation, eye tracking, and clinical simulation with embedded errors, we studied the impact of bar-code verification on error identification and recovery during medication administration. Data supported that bar-code verification may reduce but does not eliminate patient identification (ID) and medication errors during clinical simulation of medication administration.

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Author Affiliations: Professor of Emergency Medicine (Dr P. L. Henneman) and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine (Ms Blank), Tufts University School of Medicine, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield; Assistant Professor of Engineering (Dr Marquard), Professor of Engineering (Dr Fisher), and Undergraduate Students (Mr Bleil and Ms Walsh), University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Research Assistant (Mr Henneman) and Registered Nurse (Ms Higgins), Baystate Medical Center, Springfield; and Chief Executive Officer (Dr Nathanson), OptiStatim, LLC, Longmeadow, Massachusetts; and Associate Professor of Nursing (Dr E. A. Henneman), University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

This study was funded in part by National Science Foundation (awards 0829901 [to P.L.H.], 1032574 [to J.L.M.], and 0820198 [to E.A.H.]).

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr P. L. Henneman, 109 Lake Ave, Sunapee, NH 03782 (

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© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.