Medication errors are the most common type of preventable error. Bar-code medication administration (BCMA) technology was designed to reduce medication administration errors. Poor system design, implementation and workarounds remain a cause of errors. This paper reviews the literature on BCMA, identifies a gap in the findings and identifies three evidence based practices that could be used to improve system implementation and reduce error. The literature review identified that Bar-code medication administration and system workarounds are well documented and affect patient safety. Based on the critical analysis of 10 studies, we identified gaps in the standardization of BCMA planning, implementation, and sustainability. The themes that emerged from the literature were poor BCMA design and implementation that resulted in workarounds.The three evidence based strategies proposed to address this gap are, evidence based standardization in planning and implementation, the identification and elimination of workarounds and hard wiring. An evidence based checklist evaluates compliance with standard procedures. The LEAN model of Jodoka is used to assure adaptation of the machine to human workflow. Direct observation provides valuable workflow assessment. An effective BCMA implementation involves careful system design, identification of workflow issues which cause workarounds, and adapting the machine to nursing needs.
McBee, M. E., Kuhlmann, M., & Patterson, P. (2019). What You Need to Know about Bar-Code Medication Administration. Journal of Nursing & Interprofessional Leadership in Quality & Safety, 2 (2). Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/uthoustonjqualsafe/vol2/iss2/2