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Hospital drug safeguards; it's about time!

 
 
Reply Wed 25 Feb, 2004 10:19 am
Feb 25, 2004
FDA Requiring Bar Codes on Hospital-Dispensed Drugs to Reduce Medication Errors
By Lauran Neergaard
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The government is requiring that supermarket-style bar codes soon be placed on the labels of thousands of drugs to help ensure that hospitalized patients get the right dose of the right drug at the right time.

The long-anticipated regulation, announced Wednesday by the Food and Drug Administration, could prevent nearly half a million side effects and medical errors over the next 20 years, according to government estimates.

"Bar codes can help doctors, nurses and hospitals make sure that they give their patients the right drugs at the appropriate dosage," said Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. "By giving health care providers a way to check medications and doses quickly, we create an opportunity to reduce the risk of medication errors that can seriously harm patients."

An estimated 7,000 hospitalized patients die annually because of drug errors where a wrong drug or a wrong dose is dispensed.

With the bar code system, health workers use computer equipment to scan an identifying code on a patient's wristband that reveals what medicines he or she needs and when. Then they scan the intended medication. If they pick the wrong drug, wrong dose or a pill version when a liquid was required, the computer beeps an alarm.

Veterans hospitals already have adopted bar codes, relabeling their own drugs so they can be electronically identified. In a study at one Veterans Affairs medical center, 5.7 million doses of bar-coded medication were administered with no errors.

So far, about 125 of the nation's 5000-plus hospitals use bar code systems, partly because only about 35 percent of their pharmaceutical supplies come with the codes affixed to them, according to Bridge Medical Incorporated, a leading manufacturer of bar code systems.

The new rules will force drug manufacturers to begin phasing in bar codes on all hospital-sold drugs, making it possible for more hospitals to adopt the system.
--------------------------------
On the Net:
Food and Drug Administration: http://www.fda.gov

This story can be found at: http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGA85OQJ3RD.html
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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 1,642 • Replies: 8
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Miller
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2004 12:08 am
What will happen in the hospital, the day the computer system goes down? I remember, a few summers ago, when we had a major power failure . The computer systems at Walgreens shut down and the stores had to close.
0 Replies
 
caprice
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2004 03:36 am
IMHO (okay, so I'm not always so humble with my opinions Wink) mistakes are made for two main reasons:

1. human beings are fallible
2. understaffing and too much stress/pressure on medical staff creates an environment ripe for mistakes like incorrect medications and/or dosages.
0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2004 09:07 am
caprice wrote:
IMHO (okay, so I'm not always so humble with my opinions Wink) mistakes are made for two main reasons:

1. human beings are fallible
2. understaffing and too much stress/pressure on medical staff creates an environment ripe for mistakes like incorrect medications and/or dosages.


One problem that may account for the numerous mistakes made in pharmacy, is the inability of many pharmacists to speak clear and correct English. This is because for some pharmacists, English ( In the USA) is not their first language.

Another cause of mistakes is the fact that many drugs SOUND the same, when quoted by their Brand/generic names.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2004 10:24 am
Quote:
Another cause of mistakes is the fact that many drugs SOUND the same, when quoted by their Brand/generic names.



Miller- Not only do they SOUND the same, when written in MD chickenscratch, they can LOOK the same!
caprice
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2004 02:37 pm
Oh, I was sorta referring to medical mistakes in general.

I remember a news story I saw on t.v. a while back (20/20 maybe?) that showed the poor handwriting of docs for prescriptions. Being a health care worker at the time, I was familiar with the names of several drugs. When I saw one prescription, I would have sworn it said coumadin and that is what the pharmacist filled the prescription for. Turns out it was for something else entirely. Scary!!
0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 09:10 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Yes, these methods protect the patient and they likewise, prevent health care professionals from trying to take a few meds for themselves, for self-treatment purposes.
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 09:15 pm
@Miller,
This is a thread from 2004, you Dodo!
0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 09:21 pm
@Phoenix32890,
Yes, they do sound the same. Thank goodness for computer technology that helps to eliminate many potential sources of hospital errors.
0 Replies
 
 

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