Are you interested in increasing the efficiency of your team but are unsure whether or not a barcoding system is worth the investment? Check out these surprising ways barcodes have improved medication management.
1. In 2004, the FDA ruled that barcodes must be used on human drugs.
There’s more to barcodes than meets the eye. To you a barcode is a postage stamp worth of black and white lines. But to a barcode scanner, it reveals a story about what exactly lies in that pill container. The Food and Drug Administration requires all medication (for human use) to not only have a barcode, but to also contain a specific story.
Each drug is assigned a National Drug Code, an 11 digit number that includes the product’s name, recommended dosage, and the drug manufacturer. Barcodes may also include an expiration date and batch number. All of these precautions not only make sure a patient is receiving the correct drug, but also confirm counterfeit or expired medication isn’t being administered. The FDA claims that implementing this barcode system will reduce errors by 50%, preventing 500,000 errors over the next 20 years.
2. A 2010 study concluded that barcode usage prevented 90,000 serious medical errors per year and reduced mortality rates by 20%.
Most medical professionals are overworked because their hospitals or clinics are understaffed. Implementing a barcoding system to help with medication management will not only improve the happiness and efficiency of your staff but also prevent litigation. Mobile computers are easy to use and require little training because the interface is so similar to your employees’ smartphones. Not to mention error reduction can be found across a variety of different departments. One case study found that there was an 82% average decrease in errors across five different hospital departments, ranging from intensive care to the family care center.
3. Barcodes have helped healthcare providers achieve the “five rights” in medication management.
You may already be familiar with a point-of-sale (POS) system, but have you ever heard of a barcode point-of-care (BPOC) system? While this system can boost a patient’s safety, only 2% of hospitals in the United States have implemented it. BPOC systems allow medical professionals to achieve the “five rights in medication management: Right patient, right medication, right dose, right time, right route of administration. How is this possible? All patients should have an identification wristband, which the caregiver scans with her mobile computer. She’ll also scan the medication’s barcode. The information stored on both barcodes determine that it’s the right patient, medication, dosage, time and method of administration.
4. 56% of preventable errors occur when medication is being ordered.
Inventory management is extremely important when it comes to healthcare. In other industries, a delayed or wrong shipment may lead to a disappointed customer. The same situation in a hospital may mean life or death for a patient. Implementing a barcoding system will help your team purchase smarter. Each medication is assigned a unique barcode, allowing you to program different minimum stock levels so you’ll avoid running out of your most popular (and rare) medications. Barcodes also track the movement of each item, reducing the risk of theft. Most importantly, an automated system will prevent ordering the wrong drug by accident. We’re sure you’ve ran into this problem before. Many drugs have similar names and one wrong keystroke may mean thousands of dollars in unusable inventory.
Give your patients’ and you staff peace of mind by implementing a barcoding system to help with medication management. Contact Bar Code Direct today to discover a custom solution for your staff.