The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2007 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

UTILIZATION OF BARCODING TECHNOLOGY TO STREAMLINE MEDICATION DELIVERY

K. Miller1, S. Genovese1, R. Leshko1, M. Morrone1


Introduction:Inaccurate drug delivery and poor documentation has been a major area of concern for healthcare providers. Over the last decade, the delivery of respiratory medications and documentation has taken a quantum leap to efficient and error free administration secondary to barcode technology.

Methods: Bar coding of respiratory medications began in 2006. Bar coding is accomplished by the use of a hand held bar code scanner that is battery operated. By working with the Pharmacy Department, all medications were assigned a bar code. Utilizing this process, the patient’s name band is scanned for a match of the medication to ensure it’s the appropriate patient receiving the delivery. Our department's management team has access to Horizons Business Insights (HBI), a system that allows management the ability to review and track individual and departmental compliance to assigned processes. Staff compliance to the bar coding process is evaluated by using the HBI system which keeps track of drugs delivered by either scanning or just being signed. We are able to track staff compliance because each staff member signs into the system in order to utilize it.

Results: Currently, our barcode adherence to medication delivery is 87%. Initially, adherence was in the 30% range. These percentages represent the number of medications that are scanned compared to the number administered and not scanned. Making the employees' barcode a performance improvement project encouraged our staff to improve their adherence to the process. This increased the department's compliance percentage. Most importantly, bar coding our medications has kept us in line with the 2006/2007 JCAHO National Patient Safety Goals requiring the use of two patient identifiers prior to medication administration.

Conclusions: Bar coding has not come without some inherent problems. We have encountered problems with batteries holding a charge and specific medications that will not scan. This issue has been addressed by the replacement of improved bar code scanners throughout the network. Pharmacy addressed drug manufacturers regarding placing barcodes on medications that would not scan. Since its inception, bar coding has allowed the Respiratory Therapist to spend more time performing bedside patient care. In the future, we would like to apply bar coding to our daily respiratory charges, allowing an increased time spent performing direct patient care.

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