Electronic Bar Coding and No Interruption Zones to Decrease Medication Errors

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Electronic Bar Coding and No Interruption Zones to Decrease Medication Errors Introduction Research shows that medication error in hospitals and other health care settings leads to 373,000 preventable adverse drug events (ADEs) per year and that these events would increase to 478,000 within 20 years in the absence of additional preventive measures (Federal Register, 2004). While the use of barcode technology has had many applications in hospitals for quite some time it has only recently been used to address patient safety. Work (2005) views bar code technology as a particularly promising advance in the effort to reduce medical errors. Barcodes provide a valuable verification of medication administration by assuring that the "five rights" are confirmed: right patient, right medication, right dose, right time, and right route of administration. The use of barcode technology at the patient's bedside along with the use of no interruption zones further enhances accuracy in medication preparation and administration and has shown notable gains in reducing medication administration errors, which may account for as many as 7,000 deaths per year in U.S. hospital. Electronic Bar Coding The value of a bar code-enabled point-of-care technology (BPOC) system is largely measured by costs avoided through its use as well as other less tangible benefits. Ratio of profit to investment (ROI) when applied to a BPOC system begins with the volume and cost of medication errors at

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