At Littleton Adventist Hospital, our standards in safety are of utmost importance to us. We are willing to do everything in our power to assure that our patients receive premier care in a secure environment. Our bar coding system is one tool we have implemented to help protect our patients and reduce possible errors in medication safety.
Bar Coding Systems
The first bar code reading system was patented in 1969 and primarily used by grocery stores. In more recent years, the technology has been utilized by pharmacies and hospitals to track medication and administer medication to patients. Wristbands, such as the one in the photo on the right, are used to identify each individual and can pull up a database of information on the patient, including important medical history and allergies. The bar coding system is utilized through the entire process - from when a prescription is ordered until it is given to the patient.
Reducing Human Error
To use a bar coding system, a member of our medical staff will scan the patient's wristband and the medication packaging. If there is anything wrong with the information scanned, a warning message will appear. If all of the information looks correct in the system, further details such as medication specifics, dosage amount and times taken will become visible so our team can cross reference that the medication is being administered properly.
Automated Dispensing Devices
Our pharmacy has a number of features that help to ensure safe preparation and administration of medications. One such feature is use of automated dispensing cabinets, which hold medications on each nursing unit. Every medication is kept in a separate cubicle in the dispensing cabinet. When a nurse needs to administer a medication, she inputs the name of the patient in the cabinet's computer. A list of medications for the patient appears on the computer screen and the nurse selects the medication to be given at that time. The cubicle holding the selected medication opens while all other cubicles remain closed. This helps ensure the patient receives the right medication at the right dose.
Medications at Home
When it is time to go home your physician will decide what medications you should take. It is very important that you understand the medications you are taking, including the purpose of each, how and when to take it and in what dose. Your nurse will give to you a list of the medications the physician has ordered and prescriptions for any new medications. You should review the list carefully and ask questions to make sure that you understand them fully. If you have questions about new medications when you get home, you can ask your pharmacist or contact Speak to a Nurse at 303-777-6877.