Bar-code-assisted medication administration in the ED

In reference to the following article:

Including emergency departments in hospitals’ bar-code-assisted medication administration. Am J Health-Syst Pharm. 2012; 69:1018-1019 (don’t bother trying to access the article unless you have a subscription -#fail)

EDs are terrible places for medication administration because the healthcare providers are always in a hurry secondary to the nature of this particular patient care area, i.e. emergencies. All too often medications go unchecked during the medication use process. And to make matters worse, the ED is often times the last place to get BCMA in a planned rollout. It’s also the place where things like BCMA get the most pushback from physicians and nurses.

According to the article “Emergency departments (EDs) are patient care areas that are prone to medication errors. For this reason, we recommend that EDs be considered in any roll-out of BCMA. Studies have shown that the medication administration error rate in EDs is approximately 7%, with 40% of medication errors reaching patients.4,5 The results of these studies suggest that BCMA could reduce ED medication errors, yet this technology is noticeably absent from the ED.” Pretty much what I just said.

In order to benefit from BCMA you have to be willing to deploy it to all areas of the hospital, including the ED. I heard a similar message earlier this year at the unSUMMIT when one of the speakers said that most facilities are far from 100% BCMA compliant because of areas like radiology, infusion centers, EDs, etc.

Makes one wonder how accurate things like the 2011 ASHP National Survey of Pharmacy Practice are. Food for thought.

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