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Low Tech solution to Med Admin errors better than BCMA?


In the December 2009 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, there will be an interesting article on some extraordinary results in decreasing medication administration errors.

A coalition of 9 hospitals implemented best practices for medication administration reporting an astonishing 88% [link] reduction in medication errors.  These best practices did not include bar code medication administration (see listing below). 

So my question and challenge is why are so many hospitals spending millions on BCMA instead of implementing these ‘best practices” first?

Adherence to these best practices decreased medication errors more than the reported literature of BCMA and for far less time and money (speculation).

The ultimate study would be to compare an implementation of these best practices with BCMA.  Who is up for that?

This quote is telling:  The solutions "have to be low tech because we, as staff nurses, don't have the money or ability to make high-tech changes," said Celeste Arbis, a registered nurse in the medical-surgical unit there (UCSF). "Something as simple as changing the process just a little bit can make a big difference." [Link]

CalNOC (the California Nursing Outcomes Coalition) “best practices” for medication administration:

1.     Compare medication to medical record

2.     Keep medication labeled until administration

3.     Check two forms of patient identification

4.     Immediately record medication administration in chart

5.     Explain the medication to the patient

6.     Minimize distractions and disruptions during the administration process  

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