Headed for the unSUMMIT (#unSUM10)

I’m sitting in the airport waiting to board my flight for Atlanta to attend the unSUMMIT. This will be my first time attending the unSUMMIT and I’m getting pretty excited about it; like I get before every conference I attend.

The unSUMMIT is billed as a place to get information on barcode point-of-care technology (BPOC), also known as barcode medication administration (BCMA). The promotional material for the unSUMMIT states that “attendees are outfitted with practical tools, insight, and inspiration for leading their institutions to carefully select, implement, and harness the quality-improvement power of BPOC systems.”. I could benefit from that.

Our facility uses barcoding technology in the pharmacy and recently went live on the floor with BCMA. Some of my thoughts on the implementation can be found here. However, the work doesn’t stop after implementation; in fact the workload has increased since going live.

Barcoding technology has been around for a couple of decades, but its use in healthcare is still in its infancy. The scope of barcoding goes beyond patient safety, which has been called into question by some, to encompass inventory tracking and management, medication usage and real-time medication administration data for pharmacists. It’s hard to say whether the technology will ever be the magic bullet everyone wants it to be, but it deserves the same attention we give all technologies that have potential to impact patient care, positively or negatively.

I’m looking forward to hearing the closing keynote by Barbara Olson; Twitterer (@SafetyNurse) , blogger and director of patient safety at HCA. Some other items of interest include the following sessions:

“Alert, Alert, Alert! Effective Layering of Clinical Decision Support Tools of a Hospital’s Medication Delivery System”

– “Alternatives to Barcodes in Medication Administration – RFID and RTLS”

– “Optimizing Patient Safety Utilizing BPOC Metrics”

– “Intravenous Interoperability: Combining Intelligent Infusion, BPOC, and eMAR”

– “Observation-Based Medication-Error Detection”

– “It’s Not “Sophie’s Choice”: Creating and Sustaining Work Processes That Enhance Medication Safety at the Point of Care.”

The entire list of  unSUMMIT conference sessions can be found here.

To keep everyone up to date on what’s going on I will be using the 140 character gorilla of social media, i.e. Twitter, while at the unSUMMIT along with Susan Carr and Barbara Olson. I’ll be there all week so feel free to follow the action using #unSUM10. Should be a real hoot.

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