Over the weekend I read an article at HealthBiz Decoded about bar code requirements and meaningful use (MU). I knew that there was some language in Stage 2, but never took the time to read through it carefully. The meaningful use documentation is exactly what youâ€™d expect from years of bureaucrats sitting around trying to generate a document worthy of the governments typical high standard. Yeah, itâ€™s a big ol’ pile of crap. One thingâ€™s for sure, itâ€™s going to create an entire generation of consulting business for a lot of people. I digress.
According to the article, â€œHospitals will be required next year to use bar codes to verify 10 percent of medication orders under government health IT rules.â€ Â That number seems pretty low, even for our low reaching federal bureaucracy. And some people have noticed.
The article quotes Mark Neuenschwander, a barcoding evangelist, as saying â€œWe should be striving for a higher percentage because errors can happen in the other 90 percent as easily as they can happen in the 10 percent.â€ True enough. Anyone out there have a job where 10 percent accuracy, completion or participation is acceptable? If so please give me a jingle if/when you have an opening.
Itâ€™s hard for me to imagine what someone was thinking when they pulled 10 percent out of thin air. Iâ€™m not naÃ¯ve enough to think weâ€™ll ever get to 100 percent, but câ€™mon man, 10 percent! Really? Fifty percent would have been low, but 10 percent is comical.
I think bar coding technology has a place in healthcare. It offers up some real advantages when used appropriately, and I find it disturbing that the MU guidelines find 10 percent scan rates acceptable. Thatâ€™s some serious weak sauce right there.