Dr. Oz urged Oprah viewers in March to seek out hospitals with computerized records and bar-coded medication systems that minimize errors. Area hospitals are doing just that with visits to Parma Hospital.
Parma Hospital implemented a bar-coded scanning system for medications two years ago, and other area hospitals have come to learn of our success. Building on computerized charting and two past awards as one of the nation’s Most Wired Hospitals, Parma Hospital recently completed an upgrade to the medication verification system to further enhance safety.
“Our visitors were impressed that our entire system is online and portable,” says Lori Nadzan, RN, the project coordinator for Electronic Medication Administration Record/Bedside Medication Verification or EMAR/BMV. “They also saw the long-term vision that has led us to this point. We have been able to utilize current technology to customize it to our needs.”
A February 2009 article by Pharmacy OneSource, an online newsletter for pharmacy professionals, reported that 75 percent of hospitals across the country still have yet to implement bar coding for medications. Last month on “Oprah,” in a show on avoiding medical mistakes, Dr. Oz urged patients to utilize hospitals that have moved beyond pen and paper and integrated with modern times.
The electronic medication verification system was introduced at Parma Hospital early in 2006 and implemented in remaining inpatient units by mid-2007. EMAR/BMV is intended to ensure the five rights: that the right medication is given to the right patient in the right route at the right time in the right dose. Each time a medication is now administered to an inpatient scans are done. The nurse or respiratory therapist:
- Scans the medication to be given.
- Scans a wristband on the patient.
- Scans his/her ID badge.
The computer would alert the caregiver if they scanned the wrong patient, had the wrong drug or dose, or if they had not waited enough time between doses. It also would tell them if they are not the proper person to administer the medication.
“We’ve had computerized medical records for years, with the ability to print the electronic record, but now our documentation is completely electronic,” says Pharmacy Manager Kevin Zupancic, PharmD. “Our most recent upgrade makes the system even more efficient for staff to use, ensuring accuracy and improving speed.”
EMAR/BMV has met with such acceptance that patients are often seen volunteering their bar-coded wristbands before they’re even asked to do so.
“EMAR has immediately paid off,” says Lori Nadzan, RN, the project’s coordinator. “This reduces the possibility for human error. It prevents errors at the point of administration.”