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Feb 17 / Dale Harris

How are Barcodes used for Bedside Medication Verification?

Medication errors are most common in healthcare industry. Medication errors may arise at any stage of medication including ordering, transcribing, dispensing, administering, and monitoring. A barcode system application can help reduce these errors. This ensures that a right medicine with right dosage and administration is given to the right patient at right time. Symbol barcode and other models of barcodes are being used by various hospitals and other healthcare institutions.

A unique barcode is created on a label that is attached to a wrist band, or a label or an ID card. The medicine labels, wrist bands of patients and the nurses IDs contain the patient and medication data. These unique barcode labels are created by specific software and are printed by a barcode printer. Zebra printers are one of the models of barcode printers used by various organizations of healthcare industry.

When a patient has to be given some medication, the nurse, scans these barcode wrist bands by specific barcode scanners. This gives the information of patient, medication, dose, time and route of administration. Thus the data is verified and then medication is given. Handheld barcode scanners connected with a wireless mobile computer can be helpful for healthcare organizations. Barcode systems can also be used for verifying batch number and expiry dates of medicines in hospitals and pharmacies.

Bedsides medical administration, verification by barcodes helps in reducing errors which may occur while administering a medicine. It improves the work flow and efficiency of a nurse. Any adverse effects and associated healthcare costs can also be reduced by barcode bedside medication verification.

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