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Thesis and Dissertation Library -Detail

Impact of the Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA) System on Medication Administration Errors
by Mary Davis Doyle
email: mdoyle6@cox.net

Degree: PhD
Institution: The University of Arizona -College of Nursing
Committee Chair: Rita Snyder PhD, RN
Year: 2005
Type of Document: Dissertation
Keywords: information technology, patient safety, medication errors

Abstract: ABSTRACT Medication errors are the second most frequent cause of injury among all types of medical errors (Leape, et al., 1991). Of concern to nursing practice, medication administration errors (MAE) are second only to ordering errors (Bates, Cullen, et al., 1995). The introduction of information technology designed to promote safe medication practice, such as the Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA) system, offers new opportunities for reducing MAE. BCMA was developed to improve patient safety, improve documentation of medication administration, decrease medication errors, and capture medication accountability data. The overall goal of this study was to evaluate the impact of BCMA on medication administration errors: wrong patient, medication, dose, time, and route. Rogers’ (1995) theory, organizational diffusion of innovations, provided the study’s framework. A descriptive comparative design examined incidence of MAEs before (Time 1) and after implementation (Time 2) of BCMA on eight units in one medical center. MAE incidence was calculated using MAE and patient-days data. Nurse adherence to BCMA usage procedure was assessed with a questionnaire created for the study. Findings indicated that total MAEs increased from Time 1 to Time 2, however, wrong patient and wrong dose errors decreased. There was a statistically significant (p < 0.05) increase in wrong route errors at Time 2. Comparing these findings with previous research demonstrated a diversity of methods, limiting conclusions. Nurse adherence findings indicated high overall adherence. However, completion of certain steps was hindered by software, equipment, or the work environment. Study findings were significant to nursing, informatics and patient safety research. Findings demonstrated the early state of BCMA research, added to knowledge about MAE detection methods, and brought a nursing perspective to information technology research on a process primarily within nursing purview. Implications for future research include improvement in MAE definitions and detection methods to support reliable data collection for research and quality improvement analysis. Also, sociotechnical theory recognizes health care as an interwoven, heterogeneous environment with complex roles and work practices, and may provide a more appropriate framework for evaluation of medication safety technology innovations than the linear model used in this study.

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