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Meaningful Use #MU around the medication use process


Below are my comments to the Office of the Coordinator for Health Information Technology.    Not intended to be comprehensive, but to supplement the many comments submitted.  I was part of a group the put together comments submitted from Am Soc of Health System Pharmacists, although their statement got a bit watered down to be politically correct.  What say you?  Thanks to Kevin Marvin for tagging the line "Interoperability all the way to the patient".


Thank you for the opportunity to comment.  I wish to emphasis two points in the definition of meaningful use around the medication use process.

Interoperability all the way to the patient — In demonstrating “meaningful use,” the communication of orders and electronic prescriptions must be demonstrated to be functional and semantically interoperable with pharmacy information systems, both for inpatient and outpatient system.  In order to accomplish this, a common medication vocabulary must be mandated.

Conduct medication administration using bar coding – This objective should not be included until the benefit of bar-code medication administration (BCMA) technology is proven to promote safe and efficient care to patients.  The Committee should consider replacing this 2013 objective with “documenting medication administration with an electronic medication administration record (eMar).” 

Bar-coded medication systems reduce pharmacy dispensing errors.  However, the evidence to date does not suggest that such systems are as effective in reducing administration errors due to design and implementation faults and resulting staff workarounds that mitigate the efficacy of barcoding.  If evidence is produced in the near future to support the claim that BCMA is safe and efficient, this would support the inclusion of BCMA in the 2015 objectives.

Thank you all for the tremendous work you are doing.

For those interested a series of articles, both positive and negative on Bar code medication administration (BCMA) see:

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