The main function of barcoded medication administration is to reduce medication errors at the point of care by helping to ensure adherence of medication administration. Generally speaking, a handheld barcode scanning device is used to scan barcode information on the patient’s wristband ID and the packaging of the medication to be dispensed. In many cases, the administering nurse’s ID is scanned as well to confirm the nurse’s authority to dispense the medication to the patient. After scanning all required barcodes, the system confirms the patient’s identity, matches the patient with the medication order, and confirms that the administering nurse has the authority to dispense the medications.
The hardware for these systems typically consist of a handheld scanning device connected to a wireless mobile computer and cart. These mobile systems automatically communicate with other information systems in the facility to record transactions and store other medical information. However, some systems utilize a barcode scanner enabled Palm PDA to scan, confirm, and store medication transaction information. The PDA scanners usually require staff to manually upload the transaction information onto a computer via a hotsync process.
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