A study in the May 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine finds bar code technology used with an electronic medication administration record system significantly reduces transcription and medication administration errors.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston conducted the study, funded through a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Researchers compared 6,723 medication administrations on hospital units before bar-coded eMAR was introduced with 7,318 administrations using the technology.

The result was a 41 percent drop in non-timing medication administrations, such as giving a patient the wrong dose, according to the study. Timing errors--the giving of medication an hour or more off-schedule--fell by 27 percent. Further, no transcription errors or potential drug-related adverse events related to timing errors occurred.

The study is available at http://content.nejm.org.

--Joseph Goedert


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