Section C: Research Support
Research Base for the Project
“Medication errors occurring with the use of bar-code administration technology.”
(2008, December). Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory. 5(4). Retrieved from: http:/
The results of Pennsylvania State Patient Advisory’s research prove bar code medication
administration systems can reduce the instance of medication errors by 60 to 65 percent. The
study also maintains the BCMA systems are not the only precautionary measure to be taken
when preventing medical errors.
The number of medication errors at each step of the administration process, as well as
how interruptions affected the nurse’s ability to remain focused on the task at hand were
monitored. Data was collected by the nurse’s themselves and from software used to record
many of the transactions. All steps of the medication use process were evaluated and the
information collected was used to determine the overall reduction in errors when bar code
medication systems were in place.
Dubin, C.H. (2010, April). “Bar-code scanning at four health care faciltities in the U.S.”
Pharmacy and Therapeutics. 35(4). Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/
The article by the NCBI uses data collected by several hospitals in Virginia concerning
the effectiveness of bar code medication administration systems in reducing medication
related errors. It concluded that over 50 percent of harm caused in hospitals originated at the
patient point of care. This included medication errors, which occurred at the rate of one error
per patient per day at most hospitals.
The results of the studies held at the Veterans Health Administration, HCA Virginia
Health System, the Henry Ford Health System and the CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital
proved that the implementation of bar coded medication administration systems dramatically
reduced the risk of medication errors during patient point of care as well as at the physician
and pharmacy levels.
Anderson, P., & Townsend, T. (2010, March). “Medication errors: Don’t
let them happen to you.” American Nurse Today. Retrieved from: https://
This study focuses on the medication errors that occur at the administration level. While
bar code medication administration systems work well to reduce the number of errors that
occur between the nurse and the patient, there are other points of contact that also need
attention. Communication between physician and pharmacist is just as important as that
between the physician and nursing staff.
Implementing the bar code medication administration system on all levels from the
physician who prescribes the medication until it is dispensed to the patient helps reduce the
devastating effects of medication mix-ups. The Institute of Safe Medication Practices has
determined 10 key elements that can impact the number of medication errors that occur. By
focusing on those elements and using the bar code system from the top of the medication
system all the way to its administration, the number of errors has been dramatically reduced.
Rausch, M. (2008). “The role of technology in reducing medication errors.”
Key Considerations for Health Care Organizations. Retrieved from: https://
The study showcased by ProAssurance presents information that states no matter how
much advanced technology is used, medication errors will still occur to some degree. While
the use of bar code medication administration systems does reduce the risk of medication
errors, it does not eliminate them altogether. Advances in technology can be used in the
recording of electronic medical records as a way of rechecking information for accuracy.
The study implies properly used technology can reduced the number of medical and
medication errors throughout the entire health care system. By constantly reviewing and
evaluating systems and applying updates to existing BCMA systems, the overall number of
medication errors can be reduced over time.
Early, C., Riha, C., Martin, J., Lowdon, K.W., & Harvey, E.M. (2011, March).
“Scanning for safety: An integrated approach to improved bar-code medication
administration.” CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing.29 (3). 157-164. Retrieved from:
The Siemens Medical System was the site used for this research project that spanned well
over a decade. The research was to determine what caused many of the known medication
errors and how best to prevent them in the future. Researchers determined medication errors
occurred no matter how staff was monitored or evaluated.
The implementation of a bar code medication assessment system did reduce the number
of errors where the bar codes and scanners were implemented but it did little to reduce errors
outside the scope of the electronic system.
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