Hospital in Rancho Mirage to Implement Bar Code System to Help Eliminate Medication, Blood Transfusion Errors
Eisenhower Memorial Hospital in Rancho Mirage will implement a point-of-care bar code system as the first step in a plan to include electronic medical records and computer physician order entry in hospital operations. The 261-bed hospital has contracted with Bridge Medical, a patient safety company, to launch the MedPoint bar code system in early 2003, which will make Eisenhower Memorial the first hospital in the state to use point-of-care bar code systems for both prescriptions and blood transfusion products. MedPoint can compare prescription dosages and blood products with patient medical records to help eliminate medication and blood transfusion errors. Nurses can scan bar codes on their identification badges, patient identification bracelets and the prescription or blood transfusion product, allowing the system to confirm prescription and dosage information. Hospital administrators said that the bar code system will help "acclimate ... nurses to computer use at the point of care" and provide an "affordable solution that will have maximum impact on patient safety." According to Ray Miller, pharmacy director at Eisenhower Memorial, "Bar code technology is clearly more affordable, effective and easier to use than many of the other types of error-reduction technologies advocated today." He added that "learning to use a bar code scanner is a lot easier than trying to remember the characteristics of all the drugs in the Eisenhower formulary" (Bridge Medical release, 5/16). For more iHealth & Technology stories, visit iHealthBeat.org, a new Web publication sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.