Computer options for nurses using BCMA

Our facility is in the process of implementing bar code medication administration (BCMA) at the bedside. A large part of the process involves selecting hardware for the nurses to use on the floor. In addition to bar code scanners, the nurses will need access to computers for documenting not only medication administration, but other patient specific information as well.

A committee consisting of nursing, pharmacy and IT was formed to look at the options available to healthcare facilities. The committee generated preliminary choices which were then taken to a much larger pool of nurses for opinions and comments.

The final hardware choices look something like this:

– Computers on wheels, a.k.a. COWs. – Examples include Rubbermaid, Artromick, Ergotron and Stinger. COWs are one of the most commonly talked about pieces of equipment when discussing BCMA. They offer a certain degree of flexibility, but can be problematic secondary to issues like battery life and weight. Nurses either love them or hate them.

– Wall mounted computer. With equipment from companies like Ergotron it’s possible to mount a computer tower with monitor or laptop on the wall in the patient’s room.

– Tablet PCs like the Motion C5 from Motion Computing. We’ve received lots of negative feedback from other facilities on these devices, but some nurses seem to like them. Issues with the C5 include its weight, the small screen size and the poor placement of the bar code scanner.

Based on feedback from nursing and IT, we will be using a combination of all three solutions listed above in our pilot unit in February. The final decisions will be made following six weeks of use.

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