Use barcoding to meet five rights of medication administration

Medication Administration

Dispensing the wrong dose accounted for 41% of medication errors, and 16% occurred when the patient received the wrong medication. While these errors can be the consumer’s mistake, barcoding presents a proven method for safely administering medication to patients.

The Five Rights of Medication Administration were established to guide safety in dispensing medication to patients.

  1. The right patient: Verify the correct patient is receiving the medication.

  2. The right drug: Confirm the prescribed drug is the one being administered.
  3. The right time: Ensure the medication is dispensed according to the prescribed schedule—not too early or too late.

  4. The right dose: Check that the dose matches the order.

  5. The right route: Verify the method for dispensing; e.g., oral, injection, feeding
    tube, or IV.

The “rights” are objectives, not regulatory standards, but they provide a system for protecting patients from medication errors. Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA) enables clinicians to meet those standards. Ensuring these rights requires a barcode on both the patient’s wristband and the medication—the unique identifier for each.

  • Physician records the prescription in the Computerized Physician Order Entry
    (CPOE) system.
  • Pharmacist receives and dispenses the order, applying a barcode label that
    contains the information from the physician’s order.
  • Nurse picks up the prescription and verifies the patient, drug, dosage, timing, and
    route at point of care by scanning patient wristband and medication barcodes.
  • Nurse records administration and patient response in the EMR.
  • Physician reviews EMR and responds to adverse events.

Using a handheld computer, the nurse has the ability to scan the barcodes, check the EMR, and transmit information to immediately update the records. An enterprise-grade mobile computer, like the Zebra TC51-HC, enables staff to communicate with each other—via phone or secure messaging—to handle any issues or questions without compromising patient privacy.

Positive patient identification requires a durable barcoded wristband that enables the nurse to verify the five rights are being met. A wristband that can’t withstand the exposure to disinfectants can cause problems with scanning. Cal-Sierra Technologies has partnered with Zebra because the quality, ease of use, and reliability of the healthcare data collection technology is unmatched. For scanners, mobile computers, and barcode label printers that give your staff the power to protect patients, talk to Cal-Sierra, and take a look at the Cal-Sierra Healthcare Solutions Guide.