Navigation Links
Barcode Technology Flaws Put Some Patients at Risk
Date:7/3/2008

Nurses forced to use 'workarounds' to ensure medication errors are kept to minimum, study says

THURSDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- Flaws in the design and implementation of barcode systems designed to match hospital patients with the right dose of the right medication can increase the risk of certain medication errors, according to a study that looked at the use of the system in five U.S. hospitals.

The first-of-its-kind study looked at almost half a million instances where nurses and other staff scanned patients and medications. In a remarkably high percentage of instances, nurses overrode the technology in order to compensate for awkward or inconvenient aspects of the barcode systems. Nurses scanning the barcode on the medication or the patient's ID bracelet overrode the system for 4.2 percent of patients charted and 10.3 percent of medications charted.

The researchers identified 31 causes of system problems that prompted "workarounds" by nurses. These included: unreadable medication barcodes (crinkled, smudged, torn, missing, covered by another label); malfunctioning scanners; unreadable or missing patient ID wristbands; non-barcoded medications; medications in distant refrigerators; lost wireless connectivity; problems with patients in contact isolation, and emergencies.

Workarounds used by nurses included: affixing extra copies of patient ID barcodes on desks, scanning machines, clipboards, supply rooms, and doorjambs, as well as carrying several pre-scanned patient medications on one tray.

"It's not that staff are lazy or careless, it's that the system does not work as well as it should. If the refrigerated medication is two floors and a long hallway away, you're not going to wheel your 87-year-old patient to the fridge. You make a copy of her barcode. And while you do that, you help another two patients who also need refrigerated medications," study leader Ross Koppel, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement.

"Bar-coding is still under development," he noted. "Administrators and vendors may expect it to be fool-proof, but users know it's not. It's a very promising technology that still requires constant refining and careful observation of on-the-floor workflow to get it right."

Koppel emphasized that barcode systems do prevent medication errors and save lives. Identifying problems with the systems and mitigating workarounds can make them even more effective. In their study, Koppel and his colleagues made a number of recommendations, and four of the hospitals in the study dramatically reduced the number of workarounds by following these recommendations.

The study was published in the July/August issue of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

More information

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices has information for consumers about medication errors.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, news release, July 1, 2008


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Flaws in the barcoded technology used to reduce medication administration errors identified
2. GHX Mobile Solutions SalesAccelerator Tool Adds Capability to Read RFID Tags, as Well as Barcodes
3. HEALTHCARE TECH AND THE WORLD: A MACRO PERSPECTIVE ON HOW TECHNOLOGY WILL IMPACT HEALTHCARE IN THE FUTURE
4. DOT Therapy: Newest Breakthrough Technology in Laser Skin Resurfacing
5. Breakthrough Technology That Will Revolutionize the Treatment of Tooth Decay
6. MEDai Technology Identifies Prescription Drug Misuse
7. Align Technology to Announce Second Quarter Fiscal 2008 Results on July 29
8. Samplify Systems Announces Distribution Agreement With Tokyo Electron Device Limited, Broadening Availability of Signal Compression Technology
9. BPO Management Services Wins Two New Information Technology Outsourcing Contracts
10. Award-Winning Massachusetts Hospital Selects MedQuist Enterprise Technology for Clinical Documentation and Speech Recognition
11. Toys and technology for rehabilitation in cerebral palsy patients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/30/2016)... ... April 30, 2016 , ... Saturday, April ... veterinarians’ global impact on public health. The World Veterinary Association (WVA) and the ... year have selected continuing education with a One Health focus, which emphasizes how ...
(Date:4/30/2016)... ... April 30, 2016 , ... Orlando-based Maximized Living has selected Dr. Nick ... in Rio. Under the care of Maximized Living doctors at the London Olympics ... showing, Maximized Living is sending the largest contingent of elite chiropractors to Rio to ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... Ten Footwear Foundation, the national charitable foundation serving the footwear industry, has broken ... volunteers representing more than 130 companies across 23 states during the months of ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... On Tuesday, ... hospitals across the Southeast, celebrated the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal on SB 258, ... Geoff Duncan (R - Cumming), offers a 70% tax credit to individuals and corporations ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Conditions were ideal for Global ... Park on Sunday, with sunny skies, a light breeze and temperatures in the 60s. ... , The 5k Run and Walk and 1-mile walk were held to increase ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... 2016  Bayer Animal Health today announced that ... University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, is ... Communication Award (BECA). Brittany was selected from entries ... total of $70,000 in scholarship funds through the ... has provided a total of $232,500 in scholarship ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... addition of the  "Global Anesthesia Disposables Market ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160330/349511LOGO ) ,The global anesthesia ... a CAGR of 4.03% during the period ... a major threat to patients, safety. Organizations ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... USD 2.14 billion by 2022, according to a ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150105/723757 ) , ... affecting the efficiency and accuracy delivered by the ... demand for novel urinalysis instruments and consumables. For ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: