Workarounds to barcode medication administration systems: their occurrences, causes, and threats to patient safety.

Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, Sociology Department, McNeil Building, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (Impact Factor: 3.57). 01/2008; 15(4):408-23. DOI: 10.1197/jamia.M2616
Source: DBLP

ABSTRACT The authors develop a typology of clinicians' workarounds when using barcoded medication administration (BCMA) systems. Authors then identify the causes and possible consequences of each workaround. The BCMAs usually consist of handheld devices for scanning machine-readable barcodes on patients and medications. They also interface with electronic medication administration records. Ideally, BCMAs help confirm the five "rights" of medication administration: right patient, drug, dose, route, and time. While BCMAs are reported to reduce medication administration errors--the least likely medication error to be intercepted--these claims have not been clearly demonstrated. The authors studied BCMA use at five hospitals by: (1) observing and shadowing nurses using BCMAs at two hospitals, (2) interviewing staff and hospital leaders at five hospitals, (3) participating in BCMA staff meetings, (4) participating in one hospital's failure-mode-and-effects analyses, (5) analyzing BCMA override log data. The authors identified 15 types of workarounds, including, for example, affixing patient identification barcodes to computer carts, scanners, doorjambs, or nurses' belt rings; carrying several patients' prescanned medications on carts. The authors identified 31 types of causes of workarounds, such as unreadable medication barcodes (crinkled, smudged, torn, missing, covered by another label); malfunctioning scanners; unreadable or missing patient identification wristbands (chewed, soaked, missing); nonbarcoded medications; failing batteries; uncertain wireless connectivity; emergencies. The authors found nurses overrode BCMA alerts for 4.2% of patients charted and for 10.3% of medications charted. Possible consequences of the workarounds include wrong administration of medications, wrong doses, wrong times, and wrong formulations. Shortcomings in BCMAs' design, implementation, and workflow integration encourage workarounds. Integrating BCMAs within real-world clinical workflows requires attention to in situ use to ensure safety features' correct use.

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    ABSTRACT: Background As part of a series of feasibility studies following the development of Canadian vaccine barcode standards, we compared barcode scanning with manual methods for entering vaccine data into electronic client immunization records in public health settings. Methods Two software vendors incorporated barcode scanning functionality into their systems so that Algoma Public Health (APH) in Ontario and four First Nations (FN) communities in Alberta could participate in our study. We compared the recording of client immunization data (vaccine name, lot number, expiry date) using barcode scanning of vaccine vials vs. pre-existing methods of entering vaccine information into the systems. We employed time and motion methodology to evaluate time required for data recording, record audits to assess data quality, and qualitative analysis of immunization staff interviews to gauge user perceptions. Results We conducted both studies between July and November 2012, with 628 (282 barcoded) vials processed for the APH study, and 749 (408 barcoded) vials for the study in FN communities. Barcode scanning led to significantly fewer immunization record errors than using drop-down menus (APH study: 0% vs. 1.7%; p = 0.04) or typing in vaccine data (FN study: 0% vs. 5.6%; p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in time to enter vaccine data between scanning and using drop-down menus (27.6 s vs. 26.3 s; p = 0.39), but scanning was significantly faster than typing data into the record (30.3 s vs. 41.3 s; p < 0.001). Seventeen immunization nurses were interviewed; all noted improved record accuracy with scanning, but the majority felt that a more sensitive scanner was needed to reduce the occasional failures to read the 2D barcodes on some vaccines. Conclusion Entering vaccine data into immunization records through barcode scanning led to improved data quality, and was generally well received. Further work is needed to improve barcode readability, particularly for unit-dose vials.
    Vaccine. 05/2014; 32(23):2748–2755.
  • Clinical Toxicology 04/2014; · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is a need to identify effective interventions to minimize the threat posed by medication administration errors (MAEs). Our objective was to review and critically appraise interventions designed to reduce MAEs in the hospital setting. Ten electronic databases were searched between 1985 and November 2013. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled trials (CTs) reporting rates of MAEs or related adverse drug events between an intervention group and a comparator group were included. Data from each study were independently extracted and assessed for potential risk of bias by two authors. Risk ratios (RRs, with 95 % confidence intervals [CIs]) were used to examine the effect of an intervention. Six RCTs and seven CTs were included. Types of interventions clustered around four main themes: medication use technology (n = 4); nurse education and training (n = 3); changing practice in anesthesia (n = 2); and ward system changes (n = 4). Reductions in MAE rates were reported by five studies; these included automated drug dispensing (RR 0.72, 95 % CI 0.53-1.00), computerized physician order entry (RR 0.51, 95 % 0.40-0.66), barcode-assisted medication administration with electronic administration records (RR 0.71, 95 % CI 0.53-0.95), nursing education/training using simulation (RR 0.17, 95 % CI 0.08-0.38), and clinical pharmacist-led training (RR 0.76, 95 % CI 0.67-0.87). Increased or equivocal outcome rates were found for the remaining studies. Weaknesses in the internal or external validity were apparent for most included studies. Theses and conference proceedings were excluded and data produced outside commercial publishing were not searched. There is emerging evidence of the impact of specific interventions to reduce MAEs in hospitals, which warrant further investigation using rigorous and standardized study designs. Theory-driven efforts to understand the underlying causes of MAEs may lead to more effective interventions in the future.
    Drug Safety 04/2014; · 2.62 Impact Factor

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