The Impact Of Emerging Technologies on Med Errors

  1. i was reading this article on medscape nurses and i thought it was really interesting and accurate. working in a facility that uses virtually no technology when it comes to the prescription and distribution of medications, (everything is pen and paper) , it almost makes me wonder how many med errors go undetected on any given day when nurses are giving out 100+ different medications on each shift (ltc's mainly) med errors do not fall on nurses alone, but in my own experience and in some facilities the fault seems to come down on the staff nurses rather than the system that has failed to catch and prevent the errors. the article highlights how these technologies some new some not so new help to cut down on med errors (transciption errors, missed dosages, known med allergies etc..) and adverse drug reactions. it was amazing to see the great reduction in these errors due to the various technologies. why some health care facilities won't institute or are slow to institute these technologies is beyond me.. money issues, management, administration etc.. all determine whether these techs are implemented or not. overall i think it is in the patient's and nurses' benefit to have such resources and this can also help nurses improve their care and have more time to focus on other duties during the shift. what do you all think? and what are your experiences with these emerging technologies?
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    About gt4everpn

    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 737; Likes: 140
    LPN; from GY
    Specialty: Licensed Practical Nurse


  3. by   Be_Moore
    At my facility we use a system of med administration called MAK. Basically, you scan the barcode of the med and then scan the patient's barcode on their armband. MAK will even tell you if a med is being given late, early, and when the last time it was given (for example, with Q4h PRN morphine, if you try to give it early, it will warn you that it has been less than 3.5hours since previous admin and then make you do an override reason). With MAK, med errors are virtually impossible. It will even tell you do do things like give half a pill (Metoprolol 12.5 dose is supplied as a 25mg tablet, it will tell you to give 0.5 tablets when you scan it). Combining this with a CPOE system where MDs directly enter orders into the computer, which get verified by pharmacy and then put into errors are tough to come by. That is, if you are using the system like it should be used and not abusing time-saving loopholes.
  4. by   SouthernComfort31
    I'm pretty shocked when I encounter an organization using pen and paper order writing processes. People's handwriting is so variable and unapproved abbreviations are used that leave room for so many errors (I've always told my family that if I'm in the hospital and they can't read the orders in my paper chart, my nurse probably cannot either!) So Computerized Provider Order Entry, almost any CPOE system, is better than pen and paper.

    I have yet to work with bar-coded medication dispensing system, but I am intrigued by it and look forward to using it in the future. I just hope these systems do not make people complacent: you still have to go through your "rights" of medication administration, computer system or not!
  5. by   RNgonewild
    In my hospital we have just instituted a system called CareMobile, which seems very much like the above MAK system with the barcodes. According to the powers that be, it has already cut down on "near misses" or med errors by 50%. I think this is also a way to cut down on drug diversion, although nurses can learn to manipulate any system. It is also supposed to be a time saver, although right now it doesn't seem to be, it just seems like one more piece of heavy equipment we have to carry in our pockets. Oh and it doesn't let LVNs give certain meds they are not licensed to such as IV push drugs or IVPBs.