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Raining on the BCMA parade (again)

06/23/2009

In a reasonably good observational study in the July 1, 2009 AJHP, there is an inappropriate statement and study used to justify it.  While it maybe conventional wisdom, it aint so.

    Effect of bar-code-assisted medication administration on medication administration errors and accuracy in multiple patient care areas
    Am J Health Syst Pharm 2009; 66: 1202-1210
    [Abstract] [Full text] [PDF]

The reference used in the discussion is inappropriate. “Implementing BCMA technology has been shown to be a cost-effective intervention”. <NOT> The study referenced (cited below) was not BCMA, but a study of bar code use in the dispensing (not administration) process. This is unfortunate to an otherwise good study and write up.

While this excellent study adds to the science of this practice the cost-effectiveness and empiric sense of BCMA is still very much in question. The authors correctly point out that similar decrease in error rates can be achieved without the enormous expense of BCMA.

Maviglia SM, Yoo JY, Franz C et al. Cost-benefit analysis of a hospital pharmacy bar code solution. Arch Intern Med. 2007; 167:788–94.

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