CHIME case study spotlights barcoding best practices
A new case study from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) shows how Fort Worth, Texas-based Cook Children’s Medical Center has seen benefits from an electronic barcoding system that verifies medication delivery.
Verifying medication doses are crucial in care delivery, and especially so for pediatric patients, because dosages typically vary dramatically based on the weight of the patient. Either too low or too high of a dose can reduce the effectiveness of treatment or potentially harm the patient through an overdose.
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The CHIME report, titled “Changing the Culture: One Hospital’s Journey to Improve Care Delivery with Bedside Medication Verification,” finds that careful planning – and ongoing attention to how clinicians are using the technology – have resulted in widespread use of the bedside medication verification system. Executives at Cook Children’s say more than 97 percent of medications and patients are scanned before patients receive treatment.
In November 2010, Cook Children’s deployed its bedside medication verification system to prevent variances in drug administration. Bedside medication verification uses integrated technology to check in real time, before medication is administered to a patient, to make sure the right medication is being given in the right dose to the right patient at the right time and in the correct manner – the so-called “five rights” of medication administration.
“We can do so much good with medication, but also so much harm when we make medication errors,” said JoAnn Sanders, MD, Cook Children's patient safety officer, who oversees the bedside medication verification program.
“Barcoding takes a lot of the elements of human error away," she added. "It ensures that you have the 'five rights’ of medication safety and that you verify them before you give any medication.” BMV thus serves as an important tool for nurses and respiratory therapists, providing another layer of safety to augment the critical thinking skills developed in years of training and on-the-floor experience.
[See also: Mercy gains efficiency with GS1 and barcodes.]
To deploy the new system, an implementation team was formed with participants from a variety of departments within the hospital, including various nursing leaders, the pharmacy department and information technology (IT). The team worked together to map out a phased implementation in the 428-bed facility, and then a strategy to use data to encourage the barcoding system as they treated every patient.
The CHIME report shows how that core group continues to meet, more than a year after implementation of the technology, to enable maintenance of the program and continuous improvement in the process, underscoring the importance of BMV to Cook Children’s patient safety program.