Buy this Article for $7.95

Have a coupon or promotional code? Enter it here:

When you buy this you'll get access to the ePub version, a downloadable PDF, and the ability to print the full article.

Keywords

Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA), Medication error rate, Medication errors, Reporting systems, Computerized medication administration

 

Authors

  1. LOW, DEBRA K. MS, RN
  2. BELCHER, JAN V. R. PhD, RN

Abstract

The incidence of medication errors has risen dramatically during the last decade to an alarming number. Nurses report only 5% of significant errors, those considered life threatening. 1 Little research has been done related to medication errors at the administration stage or reporting methods. The purpose of this study was to compare medication error rate per 1,000 doses administered before and after the implementation of a bar code medication administration system. The study was conducted on two medical-surgical units at a midwest government hospital 12 months both before and after the implementation of the Bar Code Medication Administration system. The medication error rate per 1,000 doses administered by a nurse after implementation of the Bar Code Medication Administration system showed an 18% increase. The results probably do not indicate an increase in medication errors but rather an increase in the number of medication errors reported.

 

This research highlights problems with programs evaluating medication errors and new technology implementation. Evaluators must have accurate baseline data before implementation. Past research has shown that the medication error rate has been underreported. In contrast to a staff reporting system, the computerization of medication administration improves the reporting system by reporting all errors. Once a more accurate error rate is known, new technology can be created, evaluated, and refined to reduce medication errors.