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Tips on Reducing Medication Errors in Your Hospital

SolutionPharmacy AutomationHospital Automation

2022-06-02 17:55:04

Medication errors in hospitals are common and often lead to serious patient harm. A medication error is defined as "any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the healthcare professional, patient, or consumer,” according to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) receives more than 100,000 U.S. reports each year associated with a suspected medication error. Some serious results of medication errors may be death or life threatening situation, etc.

To solve the problem is quite difficult. However, there is a solution that combines automatic technologies and staff education. Healthcare facilities that applied this solution observed a significant decrease in dispensing errors. One study by Bates DW, Cullen DJ, and Laird N, identified 6.5 adverse events related to medication use per 100 inpatient admissions; more than one fourth of these events was due to errors and was therefore preventable. Do you want to reduce medication errors in your hospital? This blog will give you some tips that help you make the right decisions.

Automated Dispensing Cabinets (ADCs) Technology

According to the ASHP Guidelines on the Safe Use of Automated Dispensing Cabinets, Automated dispensing Cabinets (ADCs) use has become widespread in healthcare institutions, with 93% of hospitals using ADCs in their medication-use systems, and 70.2% using ADCs as a primary method of maintenance dose distribution. There is evidence to suggest that, ADCs can have a generally positive impact in improving the safety, quality and efficiency of care provision. ADCs provide accurate and controlled storage, dispensing and monitoring of medications while providing medications in an efficient and safe way. They are locking cabinets that control access to medication. Nurses can access the cabinet by using a password or biometric identification. A touchscreen is used to display the medication information, patient list, etc. After nurses select the medication, the cabinet unlocks to allow access only to the location where the medication is stored. Technology like pick-to-light guides the nurse to the location so that they can remove the required dose. According to a study at East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT), the use of the ADC led to a reduction in the medication administration error rate from 8.9% to 7.2%, which has been shown to have the potential to reduce medication errors and reduce the amount of time that nurses spend on medication administration.

Barcode (BC) Technology

Efforts to reduce medication errors have turned towards new barcode technology, including computerized order-entry systems, and electronic medication administration systems (eMAR). Barcode technology incorporates several technologies into both in-pharmacy workflow and bedside implementations. With the barcode eMAR, medications orders on the patient's electronic medical record once verified by the pharmacist. This workflow ensures staffs are aware of any potential allergic reactions, drug interactions, and unsafe dosing before administration. Barcode technology extends the safety to the bedside by scanning the barcodes on the patient's wristband and on the medication prior to administration. If the dose being scanned matched the pharmacist-approved medication order, the administration is automatically documented. However, if the dose being scanned is not the approved one, the system will issue a warning.

According to the study Effect of Bar-Code Technology on the Safety of Medication Administration, the implementation of bar-code medication-verification technology embedded in an eMAR was associated with a 41% reduction in non timing administration errors and a 51% reduction in potential adverse drug events from these errors. The results of this review show that bar-coding technology may reduce medication errors in hospital settings, particularly on preventing targeted wrong dose, wrong drug, wrong patient, unauthorized drug, and wrong route errors.

Summary: Master Your Point of Care with ADCs And BC Technology

Automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs) and bar-code technology are two technologies that can help you improve your medication management process and strengthen the closed-loop medication management. Accurate storage and dispensing processes increase patient safety; secure administration reduces medication errors. Are you also affected by medication errors in your healthcare facility? Visit our catalog of different models to see which configuration meets your needs or contact us for a free demo today.

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