Barcodes may save lives - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Barcodes may save lives

August 01, 2005

Thomasville-- Nurses at Archbold Hospital in Thomasville are beginning to use a barcode system to ensure patients are given the right medication.

When nurse, Beverly Dolweck, makes her rounds, she makes them with peace of mind. That's because she's using a Medcart, new technology that guarantees she gives patients the right medicine. "This is like a second check for us. More like a third, actually. Because the pharmacist checks too," says Dolweck.

Medcarts work on a system of wireless computers and barcodes. The pharmacist enters the drug into the system. Next, a nurse verifies her ID with a scan barcode. Then the medication is scanned, and if correct, given to the patient.

Supervisors say the system ensures the five rights. "The right patient, the right drug, the right route, the right time, and the right dose," says Critical Care Director, Amy Jaramillo.

Besides safety and security, the Medcarts also usher in a means of feedback for nurses and medical staff. "We can look everyday to see how our nurses are doing, how we are doing," says Jaramillo.

That's safeguard that gives patients, and staff, confidence in a hospital technologically ahead of others its size. "If I had to go to a hospital, it'd be this one," says patient, Clifford Stewart. "I like the security of not worrying about giving the wrong medication," adds Dolweck. That's first line defense against the 35 percent of medication mistakes that are made upon delivery.

The Medcarts also give nurses additional information about patients that they previously looked up manually. It logs injection sites, vital signs, and special needs.

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