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BCMA and Meaningful Use


The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology really listens to reasonable comments.  Here is Exhibit A.

One of my comments from the June 16th round of input was as follows:

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.

The changes they made are:

    Meaningful Use Matrix of June 16th

    Conduct medication administration using bar coding

    Changed to:

    Matrix of July 16, 2009:

    Conduct closed loop medication management, including eMAR and Computer-assisted administration”.

The July revision makes a lot more sense; by leaving the door open to other methods and technologies beyond lousy first generation BCMA systems.

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