FDA Implements Bar Codes to Reduce Prescription Drug Errors
Technology Reduces Pharmacy Errors, But Still Room for Human Error
In this day and age, there are continuous advances in technology that have the ability to reduce medication errors. For example, technology that has the potential to lower drug errors and help keep patients safe and free from harm is known as barcode scanning technology. When hospitals and pharmacies implement this type of scanning technology system, it has shown to improve medication safety.
What Is Barcode Scanning?
When patients pick up their medications at the pharmacy or are given medications at hospitals, barcode technology can reduce medication errors by ensuring the right patient is being given the right medication. Barcode technology is used in compounding pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, and even in retail pharmacies to verify that the medication ingredients match the prescription. When the barcode is scanned, it can confirm that the drug amount matches the medication being dispensed or administered.
While barcode technology has its advantages, there are, however, some downfalls of this technology, such as:
- People aren’t properly trained or fail to use this technology correctly.
- Pharmacists get interrupted during dispensing.
- Nurses or other healthcare workers have disruptions during administration.
Although many people feel like this type of technology has improved the safety and efficiency of dispensing and administering medication because it can verify products—mistakes can still occur that cause patients harm. In order to be completely accurate and protect patients from medication mistakes, pharmacists still need to verify they have the correct drug, dosage, container, and label for every patient they hand medication to.
Because medication errors can still occur with the use of technology, it is in your best interest to review your medication thoroughly before taking it. We also encourage you to share this information on Facebook with those you know and love.