Bar Code Medication Administration

To reduce medication errors at the point of administration, hospitals can implement a bar code medication administration (BCMA) system using basic scanning technology. Each patient will be given an ID bracelet with a unique bar code. Every time a nurse or other provider gives that patient a medication, they should scan both the patient’s ID bracelet and the bar code on the medication to ensure they match. If they don't, this signals that the wrong medication could be given to the patient.

Hospitals are evaluated on the percentage of inpatient units in which BCMA is used, the percentage of medication administrations where both the patient and medication were scanned in units were BCMA is being used, the use of clinical decision support to alert nurses if something is wrong (i.e. wrong patient), and structures to reduce workarounds that decrease the effectiveness of BCMA systems.

It is publicly reported as Safe Medication Administration on Leapfrog's Hospital Ratings Results page.

Fact sheet on bar code medication administration

Bar code medication administration bibliography



Visit Newsletter