Patient Bar Coding Reduces Hospital Errors
Little Rock, AR (Law Firm Newswire) December 12, 2012 – Hospital errors are more prevalent than most people are aware. A solution may be medication bar coding.
“Bar coding is an innovative system,” remarked Mike Smith, an Arkansas injury lawyer and Arkansas accident lawyer, practicing personal injury law in Arkansas personal injury lawyer, “and it has the potential to make an enormous difference. In fact, this system is in place in Michigan, and it’s helped prevent about 23,500 possible drug errors in a six-month period in 2012. That kind of statistic should get your attention.”
The fact that close to 23,500 drug errors were averted in a six-month period, should give patients pause for thought. That would mean that during a full year, there could have been 47,000 errors. This is the kind of information that sends chills down the spines of those who have been a victim of medical negligence and those that ‘may’ become a victim while being treated within the health system – in any state.
The bar coding project was headed up by the Michigan health system’s executive vice president and CIO, and it was so successful, it won an award. The initial project began with the information technology department working in partnership with all other hospital departments. The goal was to scan incoming drugs and train nursing staff at the same time.
Over time, as the project began to take shape, the hospital system also saved a substantial amount of money on other equipment acquisitions by working in tandem with a lab scanner manufacturer to implement a system for medication bar coding by making use of their existing scanner equipment. “At the end of the day, every patient in the health system had a unique bar code on their patient wristbands; a failsafe method of correctly identifying patients, one of the most common mistakes made in medical malpractice cases,” Smith said.
The bar code system not only ensures that the patient wearing the wristband is the right person, it signals to medical staff if a medication has been discontinued, the doctor’s medication order has expired, whether it is the wrong patient and wrong medication, or the right patient and the wrong medication. With over 100,000 deaths a year across the nation attributed to medical negligence, or hospital errors, a system like bar coding begins to look like a bright light on the horizon.
“Obviously, if the health care system wants to make changes and improve patient safety, it ‘is’ possible to do so. Now, if more hospitals in America would implement this type of system, lives would be saved. Patient safety is paramount in the health system. It’s time the system got with the program,” personal injury lawyer Smith suggested.
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