Healthcare information technology has played a critical role in enhancing the quality of service delivery and assuring positive results from interventions. Unfortunately, most healthcare practitioners do not know the scope of some technologies and how to adapt them for effective medical practices.
However, a bar-code medication administration system is an efficient solution whose ultimate goal is to ensure that patients receive the appropriate medication at the correct time by documenting and validating medications electronically (Mulac et al., 2021).
Bar-code medication administration is a current medication administration solution with the potential to substantially minimize errors.
How Does BCMA work?
A bar-code medication administration system comprises a mobile computer, a barcode reader, and a printer that is integrated with a computer server and a printer. Therefore, when a practitioner prescribes medication, the bar-code information is sent electronically, hand-delivered, or faxed to a pharmacy, where the information is entered into the institution’s medical system (Strudwick et al., 2018). As a result, a physician can dispense the appropriate medication to each patient by allowing clinicians to scan their bar-code bracelet, badge, or the drug using a handheld device. However, if the system cannot match a particular drug to the patient, it alerts practitioners with a warning (Risør et al., 2018). Therefore, it assists nurses in making the right decisions when administering medication.
Advantages and Disadvantages of BCMA
Due to its advantages, BCMA is a reliable method to store, retrieve, and use patient medical records and it facilitates improved communication between nurses and other healthcare practitioners.
Unfortunately, integrating the technology into new health information management systems can disrupt workflows and experience change resistance, thus resulting in inappropriate and ineffective adoption.
Some of its benefits in medicine include:
- Efficiency and timeliness as practitioners can easily access information using barcode readers and administer the appropriate medication.
- It is effective in identifying errors in medication administration and solutions to counter issues.
Some of its disadvantages include;
- Increased exposure to printing errors on the medication packages, thus limiting their effectiveness.
- Installing the system in medical institutions can introduce several issues due to limited resources.
Impact on Nursing, Medication Administration and Patient Safety
The principal objective of BCMA is to verify that healthcare practitioners observe the five rights of medication administration involving administering the right drug, in the right doses, using the right routes, to the right patient at the right time (Strudwick et al., 2018). Therefore, apart from diminishing nurses’ workload, BCMA contributes to job satisfaction as nurses will experience fewer issues with dispensing drugs and making mistakes (Risør et al., 2018). Additionally, its appropriate installation can streamline workflows and enhance patient safety by dedicating specific roles to clinicians, nurses, and other medical professionals. thus saving on a lot of resources and minimizing life-threatening incidents (Mulac et al., 2021).
Medical technologies such as BCMA offer unmatched solutions to patient safety, which is a rising concern in medical institutions due to the increased number of patients efficiently(Strudwick et al., 2018). Therefore, it is vital to investigate the effectiveness of these technologies and spearhead their adoption to maximize efficiency in medical institutions.
Mulac, A., Mathiesen, L., Taxis, K., & Granås, A. G. (2021). Barcode medication administration technology used in hospital practice: a mixed-methods observational study of policy deviations. BMJ quality & safety.
Risør, B. W., Lisby, M., & Sørensen, J. (2018). Complex automated medication systems reduce medication administration errors in a Danish acute medical unit. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 30(6), 457-465.
Strudwick, G., Reisdorfer, E., Warnock, C., Kalia, K., Sulkers, H., Clark, C., & Booth, R. (2018). Factors associated with barcode medication administration technology that contribute to patient safety: an integrative review. Journal of nursing care quality, 33(1), 79-85.