Medication Administration: The Implementation Process of Bar-Coding for Medication Administration to Enhance Medication Safety

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY➤ Approximately 1.5 million Americans are injured each year because of medication errors. In hospitals alone medication errors cost the health system well over $3.5 billion per year.➤ Nurses are at the frontline of medication administration accountability.➤ A Bar Code Medication Administration application was implemented at a 300-bed community hospital.➤ The creation of the process was spearheaded by a taskforce consisting of staff nurses, nursing and pharmacy administrators, and an IT representative.➤ This group planned the implementation process, which included changes to medication policies and procedures, downtime procedures, workflow designs, planning for nursing training, and changes to medication delivery.➤ The results from the pilot indicated that the bar-code technology reduced medication errors by 80%.

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