Preventing medical errors in hospitals

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - 100,000 people die each year from preventable medical errors. In this Healthcast, we take you inside one local hospital to find out what they're doing to cut those statistics and save lives.

Barcode technology that you've seen thousands of times at your local grocery store is now transforming the way medication is delivered in hospitals.  Bedside medication verification or BMV uses barcode scanning at the patient's bedside to provide immediate confirmation that the right person is getting the right medication.

CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital LPN Tamica Francois says, "When you use the scanner, you scan the barcode and it brings up the medication that is attached to that patient and you scan the medication - if that medication is not on the patient's profile, it will give the nurse a warning."

Since timing and dosage instructions are critical for patient medication, this linked system streamlines all of that information to one place.  Francois says, "It already has the time that the medication is due listed, so it will compare those two times and it already has the dosage of the medication that's put in through pharmacy."

The BMV system allows nurses to safely administer patient medication without the risk of common errors.  "The errors occur when the medication orders are written, they could also occur when nurses or respiratory therapists are administering the medication."

CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital went live with this technology in January and they hope to have it throughout the hospital by the end of the year. Since the BMV's implementation, Francois says the hospital has already seen a decrease in medication errors.

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