1. Landers, Judy BSN, RN
  2. PIPP, Linda M. PT

Article Content

Avoid these bar code pitfalls

I'd like to thank you for "How Informatics Nurses Use Bar Code Technology to Reduce Medication Errors" (March 2015).* As nurse manager of a medical/surgical unit for over 10 years, I've been concerned with the number of medication errors on my unit and was delighted when our healthcare system made the decision to implement bar code technology. I was part of the core team responsible for start-up.

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Following implementation of bar code technology, our hospital system saw a decrease of 94% in medication errors. However, our staff also used the same type of risky workarounds documented in your article. For example, we discovered nurses scanning copies of patient's wristbands, which were stored inside the medication cart outside of the patient room. We eliminated this practice through frequent patient rounds and close observation.


Even though the effectiveness of bar code scanning is indisputable, I also believe it's important to include all constituents in the implementation process. We had initiated the bar code process by creating a core group of people representing informatics, nursing, pharmacy, lab, and quality improvement. Responsible for creating the computerized documentation system, the core group built many warnings into the medication documentation system. Although this appeared to be an excellent strategy at first, we quickly became aware that nurses were receiving so many warnings and alerts that they began to experience alert fatigue. The result: Many alerts were either ignored or overridden. We reconvened our core group and included many of our clinical nurses in the revision process. Including clinical nurses in this process made the system both safer and more meaningful to the end user.




Llano, Tex.


Nursing2015 isn't just for nurses

I've been in the world of physical therapy since 1968. A few years later, I began subscribing to Nursing. I believe that much of my professional success is due to your journal. Your coverage of nursing topics and medical issues has enhanced and expanded my medical knowledge, contributing to my professional career as a practicing licensed physical therapist for 44 years.


I've worked as a staff therapist, manager, and team leader in hospitals, schools, skilled nursing, outpatient, and home healthcare settings and always found Nursing to be an invaluable asset. I continue to share my love of your publication with therapist friends, acquaintances, and students. Thank you for Nursing2015. What a treasure!


-Linda M. PIPP, PT


Rochester Hills, Mich.


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