Bar Code Scanning Meds

  1. At our hospital we are now instituting a bar code scanning system for meds that is linked to our computer system.We will have to get our meds out of the omnicell,suremed computer first anyway then scan all the meds and then scan the patient.If the patient is on isolation we will have to enter the meds in by hand.We will no longer have a paper m.a.r.We will have to enter everything by hand also if we give meds late because patient is off the floor we have to enter those by hand as well.This system is going to take so much longer.We hear that this is going to be Florida law so we don't have a choice but all the nursrse are up in arms about it.How much more time are we going to take away from our patients to spend on computers? :imbar
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   rollingstone
    I've used a system similar to the one you describe. At first people complained because it was something new, but barcoding and scanning does decrease the incidence of med errors. Get used to it, this is the future.
  4. by   TinyNurse
    I read about that in April RN magazine. it sounded like a good idea to me. My hospital hasn't started using it yet. I hear it is soon to come for everyone though to reduce the med errors.
  5. by   PeninsulaRN
    We use this on my unit, and I love it. It significantly decreases the risk of med errors. Pharmacy comes up and stocks our individual med carts in the am, PRNs and narcs are kept in the accudose. The best part is, once we scan the wristband and the med, it logs it as administered, so no more documenting on MARs!

    Ok, I have to admit, I've always hated MARs. Now I no longer wonder, on my drive home no less, if I remembered to sign out that Vanc or whatever. Its great.

    Occasionally our computers will go down and we have to do it the old-fashioned way. That's when everyone really *****es.

    Like any change, it will be difficult to get used to at first, and more time-consuming... but as you adjust it will actually save you time and hopefully you'll feel safer giving medications.
  6. by   purplemania
    Everyone (in USA) will have to do this within the next few years as it has become a federal requirement. I hope that after we go thru the learning curve the practice will benefit patient and nurse.
  7. by   nursebedlam
    Yeah sounds good in theory, however l am concerned about the computer system. l currently work in a busy medical practice a so call "paperless practice". We rely on the computer system, when the system is running well work is good. When the system crashs it is choas :uhoh21:
  8. by   mtnmom
    Our unit is the trial for our hospital on the new system...have been using it for about 3 mths now. I do agree that in theory the system will drastically cut down on med errors, and realize that if it is not already, it will be mandated in the future.

    A nice feature of our system is that you have to verify an order before you can give a new med. Extra time, yes, but also extra safety. You can actually pull up a copy of the order to verify the order. Only takes a few seconds.

    My only complaint is that the system we use has these cumbersome carts with wireless-linked pc's that we are to roll into the pts room. It causes a space problem, infection control issues, and if you have to lug around a dinamap at the same time....good luck! I wish someone at our facility would have had the foresight to use handhelds (i.e. Palms) for the bedside scanning- then it really would be a good system. Of course no one got any input from any nursing staff before purchasing or implementing the new system.
  9. by   momangel29
    We won't be getting medcarts which is part of my point.We still have to take the meds out of a suremed first and then go scan.We will be doing double the work and I'm sure I will be home late every night.
  10. by   pod184
    At the VA hospital where I work,barcode med administration has been around for 3 years. There were many complaints when it first came online, but that has subsided. Even my technologically challanged coworkers can do it. It certainly is not speedy, but it will cut down on errors.
  11. by   Jolie
    I've never worked with a bar code system, so I can't give pros or cons, but it strikes me as a very expensive "fail safe" that can be easily foiled.

    A colleague told me about a VA hospital with bar coding where it was discovered that some nurses were simply scanning the meds and patient ID band, then discarding the drugs, in order to save time when they were understaffed. Someone discovered a bunch of meds in the trash and figured out what was happening.

    It is simply not possible to develop an "error-free" system, and these nurses were afraid of being disciplined if too many meds were late. Doesn't justify their action, but it doesn't speak well for bar coding, either.
  12. by   cannoli
    Also, the pharmacy can discontinue a med, like an antibiotic, in error and the nurse would never know it was supposed to be given since it is no longer even listed in the system. This actually happened.
  13. by   OneChattyNurse
    i used this system at the va and loved it! i am now at a ltc unit in a hospital and we will soon be going to this system. it really does not take that much more time than if you were actually looking at the mar and comparing to the meds. if you are late you can still scan the meds, it just asks for a reason why they are late. there is s space where you can explain they were off the unit, at therapy, having a procedure done etc. anyway, this was just my 2 cents worth. good luck to you!
  14. by   mattsmom81
    I guess if pharmacy has streamlined things so it is nurse friendly this can work. I didn't find this to be the case. Personally I am just tired of bending every week to some new system someone is shoving down our throats...and having to DO more with less resources. I've become an old curmudgeon nurse...LOL!!

    To me it seemed like one more bug ridden system to take nurses away from their patients. But facilities love resilient and flexible nurses don't they? They don't care it takes twice as long. I'm about to my limit with flexibility...can only bend so far before we break. Every big new plan someone comes up with causes me to change how I've been coping in an already overly demanding job and environment. No wonder nurses leave the profession altogether. They just plain 'reach their limit'.

    But I've moved to a different environment of practice where I don't have to deal with this system...thank goodness.

    Sorry...guess I'm negative today...but I'm glad I left that environment. Nurses who have to stay there will do the best they can, but it does indeed take more time from patients. How could it not?

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