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Barcode Medication Administration Work-Arounds: A Systematic Review and Implications for Nurse Executives

Voshall, Barbara DNP, RN; Piscotty, Ronald PhD, RN-BC; Lawrence, Jeanette DNP, CRNA; Targosz, Mary DNP, CPNP

JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: October 2013 - Volume 43 - Issue 10 - p 530–535
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e3182a3e8ad

Safe medication administration is necessary to ensure quality healthcare. Barcode medication administration systems were developed to reduce drug administration errors and the related costs and improve patient safety. Work-arounds created by nurses in the execution of the required processes can lead to unintended consequences, including errors. This article provides a systematic review of the literature associated with barcoded medication administration and work-arounds and suggests interventions that should be adopted by nurse executives to ensure medication safety.

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Author Affiliations: Professor of Nursing (Dr Voshall), Graceland University, Independence, Missouri; Assistant Professor (Dr Piscotty), College of Nursing, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan; Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, (Dr Lawrence), Presbyterian Orthopedic Hospital, Charlotte, North Carolina; Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (Dr Targosz), Troy, Michigan.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Voshall, Graceland University, 1401 W Truman Road, Independence, MO 64050 (

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins