Barcoding Still A Key Tool For Safety

Anthony Vecchione | Healthcare IT News | May 21, 2014

But there's lots that can be done to make it better – here are some tips

There is ample evidence that barcode technology for medication has had a significant impact on patient safety. But while most U.S. hospitals have adopted barcode medication administration, experts say there's big room for improvement. According to a recent study conducted at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the use of the bar-code electronic medication administration significantly reduced the rate of errors in order transcription and in medication administration as well as potential adverse drug events.

The study, "Effect of Bar-Code Technology on the Safety of Medication Administration," concluded that while barcoding did not eliminate errors altogether, it remains "an important intervention to improve medication safety." Mark Neuenschwander, president of the Neuenschwander Company and cofounder of the unSUMMIT for Bedside Barcoding, said that currently more than two-thirds of U.S. hospitals are scanning most patients and medications before administering them...